By Jennifer Storck
Almost 200 people gathered at the Sunnyside Reformed Church on Skillman Avenue to celebrate the Nativity story as well as to light the Christmas tree.
The event included the leaders– and their parishioners—from five different Christian denominations who worship in the Sunnyside & Woodside neighborhoods.
“ There might be differences in practice among our congregations but we share a common belief in Jesus,” said Rev. Jon Storck, who is the leader of Grace Fellowship Church.
At Sunnyside Reformed Church, Rev. Neil Margetson recited the biblical account of the Christmas story and spoke about the history of the Christmas tree.
With a police escort, the participants walked from Sunnyside Reformed Church down Skillman Avenue to the nativity crèche at Queen of Angels Roman Catholic Church. The attendees carried candles and sang traditional Christmas carols, such as O Come All Ye Faithful, Joy to the World and Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.
At Queen of Angels, Father Brian Dowd provided further explanation about the birth of Christ, as he stood next to the illuminated Nativity Scene above the rectory.
The evening concluded with hot chocolate, cookies, and a visit from Santa Claus. Santa patiently stayed to the very end– until every last child had a chance to share his or her Christmas wish.
“Tonight is a great opportunity to celebrate the birth of the One of whom the herald angels sang, ‘Glory to the newborn King!’” said Rev. Stork.
The event was sponsored by Rev. Joseph Jerome of All Saints Episcopal Church; Rev. Joshua Hollman of Christ Church; Rev. Jon Storck of Grace Fellowship Church; Rev. Brian Dowd of Queen of Angels Roman Catholic Church; and Rev. Neil Margetson of Sunnyside Reformed Church.
“Events like these demonstrate how great it is to live in a neighborhood that is so tolerant of diversity,” Rev. Storck said.
“Many Sunnysiders don’t even consider themselves to be religious at all. And yet, we can all share life together and celebrate the things that are most precious to each of us.”