The smell of turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings spilled out of the church and into the fresh Christmas Day air as two men briskly walked through the doors and toward a running vehicle, arms loaded down with to-go meals. The First Assembly of God Church had been serving their first Christmas Day meal for only 20 minutes, but they’d already delivered 70 meals.
“We started a little early,” Pastor Dave Watson said.
Although the Christmas Day meal didn’t begin until 11 a.m., at a quarter till nearly 25 people had already lined up outside of the church’s doors. “Now they’re just kind of cycling in and out,” he said.
The meal was served until 1 p.m., and Watson believed the church would feed more than 200 people. Not bad for a first time.
“The Washington Church of God has been doing this for 30 years; they got to where they weren’t able to do it,” Watson said.
So Watson and his congregation saw an opportunity to continue a Christmas tradition. Watson spoke with the church’s pastor about passing the baton. “I told him we’d love to pick it up and run with it.”
And so the church did. The congregations of both churches worked together. “They had volunteers from their church that helped us preplan what worked for them and what didn’t work. It’s been a great partnership.”
But that’s not where the fellowship stopped. Volunteers from congregations around Washington came together to serve. “Lots of different people have come together, and really that’s what Christmas is all about. Working together because we’re all celebrating the same thing — the birth of Christ.”
Jeanne Kos was one of those volunteers. Kos attended Christmas morning Mass at St. James Church and then made her way to Assembly of God to put God’s love into action. “We had our Christmas yesterday and I just thought it was a good thing to do,” she said. “I love it.”
Kos was one of about 30 volunteers serving a traditional Christmas meal — turkey, ham, stuffing, pie and cake.
“We’re thankful for the volunteers, but we’re also so thankful for the local businesses that have sponsored things, that have given turkeys and mashed potatoes to help others out during the holidays,” Watson added.