Christmas 1999 with Community Presbyterian
and the Inland Empire Presbyterian Fellowship.

Christmas was an occasion for a combined celebration this year with the two congregations coming together for caroling (each person's singing in their own language, be it Chinese, Spanish, or English, or something else), feasting, a Nativity play in Chinese, and Piñatas for young and old. Pastors Caleb Wu, on the right with Ihwa Chu, his translator, and Pastor Sylvia Karcher led the celebration.
As is customary, the evening began with the usual feeding-frenzy. Some people even brought their relatives. Free food is always an attraction. For we at Communty, a few of the Chinese dishes were a puzzlement.

Most people got seats at the tables and carried on "animated" discussions, in lieu of a common language. Seconds and even thirds were the order of the day. Some, however, retreated to the church's front steps for their meals. Hi Donna!

The time had come for worship. The sanctuary was full to overflowing. Some of us even spotted teenagers in the back!! Everyone was in the mood for Christmas carols. They sounded great while being sung in three or more languages.
Not only were there "teenagers" present, but the very young and the "mature" also. Both were on their best behavior.

Before the children started their play, Mrs. Paul Wu lifted us with song, and Wendy Hsu played the piano beautifully, preparing the way for the children's pageant.

The children from both congregations worked together with Jenny Wu to create a memorable Nativity play. There was Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the Angels, the Shepherds, The Wisemen, and the Star. Everthing went off without a hitch! (Well?) The narration was in Chinese, and one Inland Empire member was heard to remark, "The Community people must know some Chinese. They seem to be following the story very well!"
: )
A visit from Santa and the ritual of breaking Piñatas ended the evening. There was a horse Piñata for the little ones, and a rainbow for the older children. Both were summarily broken to reveal what every kid wants (and needs) at Christmas. More sweets!

A good time, a satisfied appetite, a worshipful mood, were had. People returned to their homes filled with the Christmas Spirit, and relief that Barney had not made an appearance. All that remained was for the crews from Community and the Inland Empire Fellowship to clean up.

A Most Merry Christmas to All

Rev. Sylvia Karcher, Pastor

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