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Church event teaches kidsto look past Christmas glitz

December 04, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

With visions of sugar plums and Santa Claus in most children's heads this time of year, First Christian Church of Hagerstown is helping youngsters look beyond the tinsel to the manger.

Cindy Reeder, the education/program facilitator at First Christian Church on Potomac Avenue in Hagerstown, invited children to have Breakfast with the Angels Saturday at the church.

About 40 youngsters came with a parent or grandparent for the event, Reeder said.

"To a young child, sitting on Santa's lap is exciting," Reeder said. "But we think eating breakfast with the angels was even more of a treat."

The morning began at 8:30 in the nursery and kindergarten rooms. There the children got name tags and dropped off a canned food item to the angel box.

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Simple Advent crafts were next on the agenda, Reeder said.

During the 90-minute program, breakfast foods were available for children and adults.

"Every child had a picture taken with an angel as a keepsake," Reeder said.

During the event, The Heavenly Hosts appeared to greet the children and presented them with a baby in the manger gift.

Those angels and hosts were choir members wearing their robes and halos, Reeder said.

Christmas carols and prayer ended the unique program which Reeder described as a Christ-centered Christmas event. This was the second year the program has been held.

No stranger to unique ways to attract children to church, Reeder introduced Kingdom Critters to First Christian Church last fall as a spin-off of the Beanie Babies phenomenon, but with a Christian twist.

The Kingdom Critters program aimed to make religion relevant to a child's world. The cuddly critter came with a Bible verse pertinent to the sermon's theme, Reeder said.

Now the 12 Kingdom Critters live in the church library, Reeder said.

"They get checked out from time to time by children who want to take them home for a while," Reeder said. "They look a little worn but very loved."

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