COVID19 required we re-evaluate how we serve our community safely during the Christmas Season. 2020 was the first time since 1981 that Emmanuel was unable to provide the Christmas Dinner. The health and safety of parishioners and community members is our top priority. In 2021 Emmanuel will sponsor a Christmas Celebration on Christmas Day from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. As COVID continues to be a threat, providing a meal this year is not a possiblity. However there will be Christmas music, hot chocolate, apple cider and gifts for attendees.
Background of the Christmas Dinner/Celebration
Since 1981, Emmanuel has prepared and served an annual community Christmas dinner. This tradition was established by Jack Trayer, a long-time parishioner at Emmanuel. In 1981, the Bristol community was heavily affected by unemployment and rising costs. George Bunn, then Rector of Emmanuel, enthusiastically endorsed Jack Trayer’s proposal to provide a meal and fellowship for area residents. Jack remained an active participant and benefactor until his death in 2006.
The entire Emmanuel family joins in cooking and serving dinner to our guests. Behind the scenes, scores of volunteers complete the innumerable tasks that are required to serve dinner to hundreds of people. From setting tables to cleaning up afterward, these invaluable volunteers contribute their time and talents to ensure a successful operation. Homemade desserts are prepared. Eggnog is served. All guests are greeted enthusiastically and the children receive a gift. Choir members and guests gather round the piano to sing carols. Thousands have been served over the years. Some cannot afford Christmas dinner. Others live alone and are looking for fellowship. Many travelers passing through Bristol have been welcomed at Emmanuel.
The Emmanuel Community Christmas Dinner has become part of the Christmas tradition of most of the families in the parish. Parishioners who came with parents as children now bring their own children to continue the tradition of service.