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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Worship and Sharing for Christmas

In addition to all the entertainment here, there are 10 places of worship that are accessible by golf cart:
  • Church on The Square
  • New Covenant United Methodist Church
  • St. George Episcopal Church
  • St. Timothy’s Catholic Church
  • Hope Lutheran Church
  • Fairway Christian Church
  • Temple Shalom
  • First Baptist Church at The Villages
  • Open Bible Lutheran Church
  • Chapel of Christian Faith

 In addition, there  are 19 other churches of various denomination listed in the Villages official directory and I know of 4 other Catholic churches close by that are not listed.  Unlike other areas we have been in, religion is thriving here.  We have attended 2 of the Catholic Churches and both have been full at every mass.  That means that there are lots of activities to participate in associated with these as well.  I have already mentioned the concerts held at St Timothy's, but I haven't touched on the volunteer opportunities.  Although the Villages is a senior community where most residents are financially comfortable, and some may be considered well off, the surrounding area is not always as fortunate.  The Villages provides employment opportunities for many in the area, but that isn't always enough.  Many of the churches in the area run soup kitchens, fund raisers, and other projects to help our neighbors.  St Timothy's has an active St. Vincent de Paul Society that provides groceries and other types of support to needy families in the area.

For Christmas, like many other churches, St Timothy's has a giving tree where parishioners can select tags off the tree and buy gifts for area children.  I'm sure the other area churches have this as well.  In other parishes we've belonged to I have seen tags for one gift per child, but here, there are 4 for each child - 1 for clothes, 1 for a gift certificate for shoes and 2 for toys.  There are enough people in the parish that if each person takes 1 tag, all the needy families registered at St Timothy's will be taken care of. 

Since we don't have any children to buy for, we felt we could take 3 tags, 2 regular and a 3rd request for a little larger gift.  Many of the toy tags were already gone when we got there, so we got tags for clothes for a boy and a girl and a bicycle for a boy.  Yesterday was Christmas shopping day and we had fun selecting the gifts.  Now all I have to do is wrap them up and leave them under the Christmas tree at the church. 

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