Homecoming Celebration Brimmed With Joyful Energy
Gratefulness and joy filled St. Francis’ Church on December 3 during the Homecoming Service and Brunch, celebrating more than 70 years of memories, along with the first Sunday of Advent.
Snow fell lightly outside, adding to the festive mood, and holiday decorations greeted parishioners as they entered the parish hall. Tablecloths in a woodsy pattern of pinecones, red ornaments, and cranberries covered the tables, complemented by centerpieces of candle votives surrounded by red berries and green-tinsel garlands.
Pastor Tom’s homily perfectly captured the first Sunday of Advent and the coming of Christ, which was reinforced by the readings and hymns, infusing the service with a message of love and peace. Tracy Wilson, longtime parishioner and part of the Homecoming Committee, welcomed everyone to the celebration with humor and eloquence, reflecting on many happy St. Francis memories.
After the service, everyone gathered in the parish hall for a brunch that overflowed with delicious dishes from quiches and salads to a charcuterie board and soup to numerous breads and desserts. Special “memory” stationery was scattered across the tables for parishioners to share their favorite St. Francis recollections.
Many wrote that the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Dinners and the Blessing of the Animals were among their favorite memories. Henry Lester wrote that Linda Stephens even brought her horse to the Blessing, while Tracy Wilson remembered a parrot in attendance. “A dog jumped up,” she wrote, “and pulled the tail feathers out of the bird.”
Other memorable events were also mentioned. Pat Wiltse listed her favorite memories as: “Teaching vacation bible school, progressive dinners, Blessing of the Animals, choir, and making stain glass windows.
In addition, there were notes of gratitude for the thoughtfulness of the St. Francis congregation. Carlie Wilson wrote, “The hugs and love I was given weekly are my favorite memory.” (Click here for a PDF with more memories.)
The event ended with a feeling of spiritual renewal and appreciation for our church home, as well as excitement for the upcoming Christmas season. A wintry scene waited outside as everyone left the church for a world turned white, a testament to the beauty of God’s seasonal transitions, underlining our need to celebrate each and every day.