October 15, 2018

Christmas Eves in Historic Sanctuary Naomi Runtz

Christmas Eves in Historic Sanctuary
Naomi Runtz

My father, Oscar Hoch, a life-time member of Parkway, used to recall his early memories of Christmas Eve in our historic sanctuary. A huge Christmas tree from their woods was installed in the church and of course it was lit with candles. He remembered that a person had to be on guard with a bucket of water and a long pole with wet rag on it to douse any wayward flames.

My memories, besides the tree now with electric bulbs, were about all the Sunday School children presenting a Christmas Program. Each class or department sang a song. Then most of the children said poems or stories. They stood alone in the front of the crowd and said their “piece” which they had been practicing for weeks. The older classes presented a Nativity Scene with Mary, Joseph and a baby Jesus.

At the end of the program, Santa came with his jolly “Merry Christmas” and a small box of candy and an orange for each child.
One year, Mr. Frank Ritter was Santa. But he couldn’t fool his grandson, who after hearing Santa’s voice and touching Santa’s hands, was heard to say “Grandpa!”