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    United Methodists of Upper New YorkLiving the Gospel. Being God's Love.

    news article

    Two churches create lasting Christmas memories for children, their families, and volunteers

    December 11, 2023 / By Pastor Deb Peacock, Argyle UMC

    Two years ago, I took my grandson shopping so he could buy small gifts for his mom and dad for Christmas. I remember how excited he was to do this. I began to think about the children in the Argyle and West Hebron communities, as well as other small communities around us, that are struggling to provide meals for their families, let alone Christmas gifts. I immediately had an idea.  

    I went to both of my congregations, which have about 42 members combined, and told them about my idea to create a shopping day for children living nearby. I was so blessed because church folks were so excited and volunteers were plentiful. Our tables filled with gifts long before the event.  We all could hardly wait until we could open our doors to see God’s children. 

    Members at both Argyle and West Hebron United Methodist Churches realized we had the ability to teach the young how blessed it is to give at Christmas as well as receive. Members from both congregations gave little items from their home or small new gifts in addition to donating wrapping paper, decorative gift bags, bows, and gift tags to the children's shopping day.  

    We divided up the shopping areas by ages from toddler to 12 years old and set up the room behind the sanctuary with tables. One area was designated for wrapping, another area was for other items we collected. In addition to donating gifts and wrapping supplies, we also asked volunteers to bake homemade cookies. We knew we also needed some volunteers to wrap gifts and fill out tags for children who needed help.  

    As the pastor, I made it a priority to be at the church to offer cookies, coffee, or tea to those who accompanied the children, and of course juice for the children. But most importantly, I wanted to be there, so I was able to visit with parents and grandparents while the children were shopping. This was such a wonderful opportunity to share with them what our church offered: love and compassion.  

    Last year, we served 32 children. This year, the number of participants doubled to 64 children. We advertised with a sign outside the church and posted the event in a few local free newspapers. We offered the event on two different Saturdays so parents and guardians had some flexibility. We were especially blessed this year as one of the participating parents joined our Zoom worship service.  

    It was such a blessing to all those who volunteered to see the excitement in the children's eyes and lavish in the sound of their giggles when they were reunited with their family members.  

    Christmas isn’t even here yet, and already we are taking inventory of gifts for next year. We cannot wait to continue share the love of Christ. 

    TAGGED / Communications / Youth / Districts

    With more than 100,000 members, United Methodists of Upper New York comprises of more than 675 local churches and New Faith Communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our vision is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."