Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/940567

Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 22, 2014

12 Days of Christmas Spirit

By Andy Hallman | Dec 21, 2012
Washington Church of God

Nobody should celebrate Christmas alone. That is the sentiment of the Church of God in Washington, which will host a Christmas Day lunch open to the public.
The lunch will be from noon to 2 p.m. at the church, which is at 322 S. Ave. D. There will be carryout meals available to those who are not able to come to the church.
Elvina Miller, a parishioner at the Church of God, explained the impetus for organizing the meal.
“We don’t want people to be alone or not be able to have a Christmas dinner,” she said. “I’ve done that at times, many years ago. I know what it’s like, and I don’t want anybody to be alone.”
Miller said that about 50 people eat at the church. Pastor Dean Elmore said the parishioners deliver another 30 meals to shut-ins or people who can’t make it to the church.
The meal is a traditional Christmas feast that includes ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, salads and pie.
Miller said the entire church comes together to prepare the food.
“We don’t have very many parishioners, but we all help,” she said.
Elmore echoed Miller’s attitude.
“We have a small church, but our parishioners do a tremendous job,” he said.
Elmore said the idea for a Christmas Day lunch began more than 20 years ago, perhaps in 1990. Elmore has been the church’s pastor that entire time.
“People say that churches just want money,” he said. “So we wanted to do something for the community. If somebody is alone or a shut-in, we would help them have a better Christmas.”
Reservations for the Christmas Day lunch can be made by calling 319-653-2946, 319-653-5678 or 319-694-5420. The church appreciates reservations to be made ahead of time in order to know how much food to prepare, but a reservation is not necessary to eat the meal.
Elmore said the shut-ins who are delivered to know ahead of time that they will receive a dinner. He said he has gotten calls, even including today, from people requesting meals be brought to them or a shut-in they know.
“I think most people really appreciate it,” he said. “We had a doctor and his wife come to our first dinner, and they continued coming for several years. When the doctor died, we took the meals to his wife.”
Elmore said the church usually plays Christmas music in the background to get the attendees in a festive mood.
“Fellowship and taking care of each other is what it’s about,” he said. “It’s open to everybody. Some people come in just to visit.”

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