Often many Christians struggle with the thought of Santa Claus at Christmastime. If Jesus is the reason for the season, then why should we celebrate Santa Claus? Pastor Chris Hardy of Bangor First United Methodist Church, sees Santa as a way to reach out to the community.
For the second year in a row, his church’s all you can eat Breakfast with Santa event has sold out, with more than 75 children in attendance, along with parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and caregivers. The event included a buffet filled with scrambled eggs, home fries, sausage gravy, biscuits, pancakes, toast, fruit, cupcakes and beverages all prepared by church members.
“It’s great to have the church filled with children, to show our community that we are here for them and that we want them here,” said Pastor Chris. “We do these events, like Breakfast with Santa, because we want them to not only experience the joy of Santa for a couple hours, but to be a part of the joy we have in Jesus Christ.”
The event’s focus wasn’t just on the jolly old man in a red suit, but Pastor Chris sat with the children and talked about the true meaning of Christmas and then read “‘Twas the Evening of Christmas” by Glenys Nellist. The children were enthralled by the story and the parents liked that the true meaning of Christmas was included at the Santa event.
“The church is beautifully decorated and our family enjoys being able to spend time eating and talking with one another,” said one of the attendees. “Oftentimes at events like this, they are rushing you out of the building to make room for more people.”
The average Sunday attendance at Bangor First United Methodist Church is 85 people. These servants of Christ help serve the needs of the 5,200 Bangor community members, building relationships with those who come through their doors. According to the US Census of 2015, Bangor has a poverty rate of 11.1%, and the Bangor Area School District states they have over 50% of the children receiving free or reduced lunches. There is great need and Bangor First is doing their part in leading people to Christ, one event at a time.