xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Boxes adding sparkle to Advent at Manchester church

The congregation of Trinity United Church of Christ, in Manchester, was encouraged to add a little sparkle to this Advent season.

The idea for using "The Sparkle Box" book as the focus for a congregation-wide project was the result of Trinity's pastor being talked into buying the book at her seminary bookstore. "The story is inspirational and the illustrations are wonderful. After reading the book, I discovered a great online resource for using the ideas in the book for a congregation-wide project," the Rev. Suzanne Adele Schmidt wrote in an email.

Advertisement

Trinity's Christian Education chair, Robin Purkey, read the story to Sunday school classes the first Sunday of Advent and then shared instructions with the entire congregation during worship. "Presents are meant to bring us joy. So when you ask yourself what you should put in the Sparkle Box, think about what you could do that would make Jesus and others happy. After you do a kindness for another person, you simply write that on a piece of paper and place it in the Sparkle Box," Purkey said.

The church distributed Sparkle Boxes to everyone that Sunday and gave them suggestions of acts of kindness that they could do. The next week, Trinity's consistory, which is the church council, met and came up with actions that the church could do for the community to add to the church's Sparkle Box. Those were shared with the congregation during the Dec. 4 service. Ideas were to pack weekend food bags for some students at Manchester Elementary School, adopt a local family and make their Christmas brighter, assemble and deliver gift baskets to Trinity's homebound members, offer Blue Christmas services in partnership with Immanuel Lutheran Church for the community, provide school supplies for a mission outreach to Honduras, and recruit members to cook for the Cold Weather Shelter in Westminster.

Advertisement

The congregation was also getting into the spirit of the story. "The Sparkle Box project has made me think about things that I might not normally think about: things to make others happy. This week I went to lunch with my friends. When the check was brought to the table, I just felt in my heart that I should treat my friends. I wanted to do something and it felt good after I did it," Trinity UCC member Carolyn Brooks said.

Another Trinity UCC member, Belva LaMotte, followed one of the suggestions on the church's Sparkle Box list: to smile at people. Belva smiled at three people while she was shopping and they each spoke to her.

"That may be the only smile and conversation that some of those people experienced that day …The Sparkle Box project is meant to help Trinity's congregation remember and be intentional about simple kindnesses aimed at making others (and Jesus) happy," Schmidt wrote.

Sparkle Boxes have been available each Sunday morning this month at Trinity UCC and will be available again on Dec. 21. It's not too late to participate.

The project finale comes on Christmas Eve during the 6:30 p.m. worship service. Brett Myers, a Manchester native who now lives in Nashville, will read "The Sparkle Box" story. Myers, a relative of a church member, is a speech pathologist and actor. As he reads, photos of the book's illustrations, taken by church member Ashby Haines, will be shown on a screen.

A fellowship time will be held immediately following the service at Trinity UCC, 3229 York St. All are welcome to attend.

Movie and a meal

The Hampstead fire company invites families to dinner and a movie on Saturday, Dec. 20, at the fire hall, 1341 N. Main St., Hampstead.

Doors will open at 5:15 p.m. and dinner will be served from 5:30 until 7:15 p.m. The meal includes spaghetti, bread, soda and water. The cost for dinner is $5, payable at the door, with children 5 and younger eating for free.

Following dinner, "The Polar Express" will be shown at 7:45 p.m. Chairs will be available onsite, but you are welcome to bring your own or a blanket on which to sit.

Snacks — such as popcorn, pizza, soft pretzels, candy and drinks — will be available for purchase during the movie.

You do not need to come to dinner to attend the movie and admission to the movie is free. However, donations to benefit the fire company will be greatly appreciated.

Advertisement

For more information, contact Chief Nick Thompson or Assistant Chief J. J. Lynott at 410-230-4280.

Jill Murphy covers Hampstead, Manchester and neighboring communities in the North Carroll area. She can be reached by email at jillmurphy.neighborhoods@netzero.com or by phone at 443-604-8619.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement