Numerous Wisconsin churches gave back to their communities while celebrating Christmas. Here is a sampling of those stories.

First UMC Rhinelander: Winter GearDonation

Rhinelander First UMC purchased and donated 30 pairs of snow pants, and 30 pairs of boots to the Rhinelander Elementary Schools. These will be used for elementary students who come to school without proper gear, so they can still go out for recess.

Fountain Park UMC: Christmas Meal

Note written in thanks to Christmas meal sponsored by Fountain Park UMC in Wisconsin“Thanks for the delicious meal! Merry Christmas! I am alone, nice to be with people!”

This was just one of the many messages written on the tables at the 3rd annual free community Christmas dinner held at Fountain Park United Methodist Church in Sheboygan on December 22nd. The community meal has grown in numbers each year; this year serving 135 people. With assistance from the Sheboygan County Food Bank and Texas Road House, Christmas warmth and cheer reached many hearts that evening. Each attendee was given a Christmas gift bag of peanuts, candy and oranges when leaving the dinner.

New Centerville UMC: Christmas Program and Donations

On December 17, 2017, the Sunday school children presented their Christmas program entitled “From the Manger”. They were blessed to have a real live baby Jesus in the program. Other participants in the pageant included Angel Gabriel, Mary, Joseph, five animals, angels, shepherds, star, and wise men. The pre-school and early elementary gave the welcome, and had parts during the manger and star scenes. The narrator read scripture from Luke 1 and 2 and Matthew 2. The congregation joined in by singing Christmas carols correlating with the Christmas story. It was a fun way to share the real meaning of Christmas with family and friends so that each person will experience Emmanuel, “God with us”, within their hearts every day. Instead of children exchanging gifts with each other, they gave mittens, hats, scarves, and gloves to the Mitten Tree, a local charity for families in need of cold weather apparel.

Delevan UMC: Holiday Toy Drive for Puerto Rico

Christmas toys shipped to Puerto Rico by Delevan UMC in WisconsinThe children in Puerto Rico had little to celebrate this Christmas. Puerto Rico is slowly recovering from Hurricane Irma–many are still without power. Delavan UMC decided to have a Holiday Toy Drive for the children in San Juan, Puerto Rico. They received donations throughout the month of December and shipped over 85 pounds of toys to San Juan UMC where they were distributed in time for Three Kings Day.

First UMC Madison: Christmas Dinner

Nearly 400 people attended First UMC’s annual free Christmas meal. Volunteers—from the church and from the community—served up heaping plates of roast turkey, honey-glazed ham or Southern-style meatloaf along with mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and sauteed cabbage, while bowls of candied yams and holiday breads were passed around, family style. A dessert table along the side of the room was laden with Christmas cookies, brownies, cake and pie. Plans for the church’s Christmas meal started months in advance, and the cooking began a couple of days ahead. One team of workers peeled 150 pounds of russet potatoes on Saturday for the mashed potatoes, while others spent part of their Christmas Eve day cutting cabbages and onions. The meal was featured in Madison news here.