Every year when the sights, songs and sounds of Christmas become a reality, adults make preparations, children cheer and Santa gives gifts.
Last Saturday morning, sidewalks in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn – where it is said that you will find a church every three blocks – was covered with about an inch of snow. Indeed, as one of the songs of the season says, “ it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas”.
Meanwhile, in the Fellowship Hall of the Newman Memorial United Methodist Church on Troop and Macon, about 50 children (mostly under 13) and some of their parents sat listening to carols and talking. They had finished part of a programme – an early breakfast, a face painting session, and a storytelling class upstairs in the chapel of the church.
Just after 11 a.m., the popular song Here Comes Santa Claus, rang loudly throughout the hall: “Here comes Santa, here comes Santa, sssssssh, sssssh,” said a lead member of the United Methodist Women Ministry, organizers and sponsors of the twenty-year-old community outreach.
Santa Claus, smiling and waving, with a large red bag of gifts, entered to shouts of ‘Ho, Ho, Ho’ and sat in a chair, next to a lighted Christmas tree.
Clearly, children, caught by surprise, stood and applauded. Several parents took pictures.
“I have been a Santa all my life. I was glad to assist with this affair. I bought this outfit before I was asked. The price was right. You know what was funny? One of the children expects me to be back next year. He put in a request for an IPad,” said the secret Santa afterwards.
Truth be told, this Santa Claus came down the stairs. He didn’t have any Vixen or reindeer pullin’ on the reins. But the bells did ring and the children sang along. In the end, all was ‘merry and bright’, so to speak.
Barbadian Rev. Laurel Scott officially became pastor of the Newman Memorial United Methodist Church in October. She was indeed pleased with the response, and the staff effort, among other things.
She observed: “Bedford Stuyvesant is changing. That means that going forward, community outreach is going to be critical. We had a full fellowship hall. I was also happy to see a white family in attendance. I was also happy with the support we received from the Harrison College/Queen’s College Association. We have common community outreach goals. I am grateful for the contribution.”
Junior Moore, speaking on behalf of the association, agreed.
“I am glad that we were able to use some of the funds from our recent fundraiser to help this ministry bring joy to children. By the way, helping children celebrate Christmas is not new for us. We organized many Christmas events for children at The Fort Green Senior Citizen Center where the late Grace Harewood was the executive director.”
A member of HC QC Alumni was Santa Claus. Some of the members of the United Methodist Women Ministry are Barbadians.