St. An­thony churches preach com­mu­nity out­reach dur­ing the hol­i­days

Churches visit se­niors, raise funds, give gifts — all in the spirit of the sea­son

Northern Pen - - Front Page - BY STEPHEN ROBERTS

While there’s lots of hol­i­day cheer to go around dur­ing the Christ­mas sea­son, for many peo­ple it can be hard to share in the spirit of the sea­son.

For some, in­clud­ing the el­derly and those who are shutin, Christ­mas can be a lonely time. For oth­ers, the fi­nan­cial bur­den can be dif­fi­cult to bear, es­pe­cially dur­ing an eco­nomic down­turn as seen on the Great North­ern Penin­sula.

But dur­ing the hol­i­days, there are those who step in to fill the gap, all in the spirit of the sea­son.

In St. An­thony, area churches are amongst those to take the ini­tia­tive and reach out to mem­bers of the com­mu­nity who need it most.

There are five churches in St. An­thony — Angli­can, Sal­va­tion Army, Catholic, United and Pen­te­costal. Dur­ing the Christ­mas sea­son they all do their part to help oth­ers.

For in­stance, to­gether they or­ga­nize a Carol Fest. Each year, one of the churches hosts the event where they all come to­gether to sing carols. It has been go­ing on for a num­ber of years.

But they also raise money through the Carol Fest, which is then do­nated to the lo­cal food bank, while peo­ple also bring along non-per­ish­able food items to do­nate. The funds raised also go to­wards pur­chas­ing Christ­mas gift cer­tifi­cates which are dis­trib­uted, by re­quest, through­out the sea­son. This helps en­sure that ev­ery­one has a Christ­mas meal.

The Angli­can Church and the Sal­va­tion Army spoke to The North­ern Pen about other kinds of out­reach they do dur­ing the hol­i­days.

Last year, the Angli­can Church started a “Tree of Hope” to fa­cil­i­tate gift giv­ing to the less for­tu­nate.

The church has a tree with notes hang­ing from it, each note sug­gest­ing a gift idea.

Church­go­ers will take a note, get the gift writ­ten on it, and bring it back to the church. Those gifts will go to­wards help­ing lo­cal fam­i­lies.

Vis­it­ing Fur­ther­more, both the Angli­can Church and Sal­va­tion Army pick a date to visit St. An­thony se­niors each year, bring­ing them a lit­tle gift and lots of Christ­mas cheer.

Ethel Rum­bolt, pres­i­dent of the Angli­can Church Women, says for the past seven or eight years, the church has been de­liv­er­ing bas­kets to lo­cal se­niors, con­tain­ing fruits, candy and a Christ­mas card.

They are vis­ited by Rev. Katie Tay­lor-Flynn, some of the Angli­can Church Women and jolly old Saint Ni­cholas, Santa Claus him­self.

“We sing We Wish You a Merry Christ­mas, have a chat with the se­niors and then Rev. Katie will have a prayer, and then we go to the next place,” Rum­bolt told The North­ern Pen. “Last year, we left at 10 a.m. and we got home about 6:30 in the evening.”

Rum­bolt was emo­tional talk­ing about the re­sponse this ini­tia­tive gets from se­niors.

“You go in and you see peo­ple cry and you see peo­ple laugh,” she said. “It was the high­light of Christ­mas and what I think Christ­mas is all about.”

This year the se­niors will be treated to some­thing new, as they will be ser­e­naded by the Angli­can Church Youth Choir. The young singers will ac­com­pany the oth­ers for the visit, sched­uled for Satur­day, Dec. 15.

Mean­while, the Sal­va­tion Army, through its Com­mu­nity Care Min­istries, de­liv­ers “sun­shine bags” to 70-plus year-old se­niors in St. An­thony and area each Christ­mas.

This is done un­der the lead­er­ship of Lester and Donna Budgell.

Each year, they will pack bags with items in­clud­ing fruits, cloths, soap and more.

“It’s just a lit­tle some­thing to let the older folk, and those who are shut-in, know that we care about them,” said St. An­thony Sal­va­tion Army Cap­tain David Ride­out.

These items are de­liv­ered to res­i­dents of the John M. Gray and Shirley’s Haven, pa­tients at the Charles S. Cur­tis Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal and to homes of se­niors in St. An­thony, St. Lu­naire-Gri­quet and sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties.

Like the Angli­can Church, they sing carols dur­ing the vis­its.

‘Giv­ing hope’

Cap­tain Melanie Ride­out said she felt blessed to be in a place where the needs are not great.

But, with an eco­nomic down­turn, par­tic­u­larly in the fish­ery, she says the church is there to help any­body with a “hand up”, not just with a “hand out”.

For Ride­out, the rea­son they do it all comes back to the Sal­va­tion Army’s motto.

“I al­ways go back to the Sal­va­tion Army’s motto ‘Giv­ing hope to­day’,” she said. “I think this is why we do it.

“We want to give hope to those who are feel­ing a lit­tle bit down and out this time of year, who are look­ing for a lit­tle help with the ex­tra ex­pense around Christ­mas.”

STEPHEN ROBERTS – THE NORTH­ERN PEN

David and Melanie Ride­out are the cap­tains of the Sal­va­tion Army in St. An­thony.

STEPHEN ROBERTS – THE NORTH­ERN PEN

Ethel Rum­bolt is the pres­i­dent of the St. An­thony Angli­can Church Women.

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