Herald-Sun editorial: Reaching out the thing to do at Christmas

Dec. 17, 2012 @ 11:10 PM

Two area churches are showing what goodwill toward women, men and children is all about this holiday season.

At Duke Memorial United Methodist Church, a Christmas Market offers unique value to families who are looking to save money on gifts.

The church gave out 200 passes to shoppers for new toys and slightly used items. The shoppers got 75 percent off the new gifts, and paid $1 for the used ones. The market allows parents to purchase gifts on their own, rather than be given donated items.

Proceeds from the Christmas Market go to Interfaith Hospitality Network, Habitat for Humanity and Urban Ministries of Durham, which referred families to the market. Participants from LATCH (Local Access To Coordinated Healthcare) and the Durham Exchange Clubs’ Family Center were also given passes.

Duke Memorial United Methodist Church is located at 504 West Chapel Hill Street in Durham.

At Sanctuary United Methodist Church at Lakewood, on 2317 Chapel Hill Road in Durham, the Christmas play put on by the church, “A Very Brave Christmas,” is all about inclusion. It was written and is directed by Sanctuary Lay Leader Mark Hipps, who explained that the main character in the play embraces, a girl named Pat, difference, just as Mary, Jesus’ mother, changes the world by being different. “Pat learns it’s OK to be different, and God loves all of us for our uniqueness,” he said. “If we were the same, magical, wonderful things wouldn’t happen. God uses us in wonderful ways.”

Visitors were encouraged to bring food for a shared meal or canned goods to donate to Urban Ministries of Durham as part of the Sunday performance. The church is inviting to everyone, regardless of ethnicity, homelessness or any other status.

Our church communities reach out throughout the holiday season – of course, they also do so all year long. The churches are a crucially important part of our cohesiveness and give so much back. Part of the beauty of it all is that the churches each do so in unique, and often widely different ways.