Operation Christmas Smile held
The Deacons of Cove Presbyterian Church, Weirton, have sponsored Operation Christmas Smile each year for the past four years, its purpose to provide families with a Christmas complete with gifts for the children and a holiday meal.
A Bowlathon, spaghetti dinner and a hot dog lunch helped to provide funds for the project. In addition to these fundraisers, congregants were asked to provide presents of clothing, shoes, gloves, coat, pajamas or an outfit in addition to contributions of food items and gift certificates.
On Dec. 14, nine families, including 22 children, came together at Cove church for crafts, games and a luncheon. Santa Claus distributed gifts for the children and also provided additional gifts for the families to open on Christmas Day.
There were "North Pole gifts" of toys and games made available with each family receiving a bag full of groceries and a Kroger gift card to help complete their Christmas dinner.
Sveta Petka Kolo has Christmas party
Members of the Sveta Petka Kolo of Holy Resurrection Serbian Church held their Christmas party Dec. 9 at St. Florian Hall in Wintersville, an event that included a meal, singing and games.
"We are taught in our church about planting wheat at Christmas time, so at our party we passed out small bags of psenica - winter wheat - that we are to plant on St. Nicholas' Day, Dec. 19," group member Donna Ivkovich explained. "Each family plants the wheat in a small bowl. They give it just a few sprinkles of water each morning as they say Oce Nas, the Lord's prayer. The bowl is placed on our table on Christmas Day, which we will celebrate on Jan. 7," Ivkovich said.
"The wheat reminds us that, just as the wheat seed has to be planted in the Earth and die before it grows and brings forth many times more grain, so do we have to die and be buried in the Earth in order to have new life in God's kingdom," she said. "In planting the psenica during Christmas, it represents the new life Christ is bringing to mankind in the kingdom of Heaven," she said.
The group will not meet in January. The next meeting will be held at noon Feb. 7 at Eat'n Park.
Toronto classes help families in need
The Reality and JOY classes of the North River Avenue Christian Church in Toronto have completed their sixth year of providing Christmas for Toronto families who might not otherwise have one.
"The members of the classes donate a dollar a week each to the children's Christmas fund, and at the end of the year, they take the collected funds and go Christmas shopping for children identified by the school as being unlikely to have Christmas otherwise," the class teacher said.
The list has grown over the nears, they said, and the classes have needed some help.
This year, they received donations from Timet, Alex Paris Inc. and Pilgrim Lodge No. 691, F. & A.M. The classes bought gifts for 31 children, spending about $90 per child. they went shopping Dec. 8 and wrapped gifts on Dec. 9.
"This year, while unloading for their shopping trip, a stranger asked what was going on and hearing about their program donated $100 on the spot," they said.
Serve Others Circle meets
The Serve Others Circle of King's Daughters and Sons met Dec. 18 at the YWCA for a noon luncheon meeting with Ruth Ann McLaughlin presiding.
McLaughlin, hostess and program leader, led the four members and one guest, Judy Fulmer, in opening ceremonies. She read from the Silver Cross, "Chautauqua Scholars Program 2012," by Valerie Roberts, Chautauqua department director of King's Daughters and Sons.
Reports were given by Lucille Smith, secretary, and McLaughlin, who gave the treasurer's report. The circle collected money for Urban Mission Ministries and for the YWCA staff and sent Christmas cards to shut-ins.
Sherry Freeman played piano and led the circle in singing Christmas carols for the program.
Linda Cooper will serve as hostess and program leader at the Jan. 15 meeting.
Cantata Sunday at Finley UMC
The annual Christmas choir cantata at Finley United Methodist Church, Steubenville, will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
"Noel and Alleluia - Jesus Is Born!" along with an integrated drama about coming home for Christmas is the musical for this season.
The cantata choir will be joined by the Finley Children's Choir for a special song honoring the Christ Child, according to a church spokesperson.
All are welcome to attend.
OES reception honors Paula Johns
A reception was held Dec. 2 at Toronto Chapter No. 215, Order of the Eastern Star to honor Paula Johns, grand representative of Saskatchewan in Ohio.
Worthy Matron Sally Porter welcomed the guests and presented Johns, who commented on the friendship and warm welcomes she received in her travels around the state as well as from her church family and her own family.
Johns introduced the Past Grand Patron Trevor Sproul and Deputy Grand Matrons Machelle Miller of District 14 and Nancy McMillin of District 13. Also introduced were Grand Representatives Jodi Sproul representing Scotland and Mary Boston representing North Dakota, and worthy matrons and patrons from chapters in Steubenville, Unionport, Bolivar, Lisbon, Carrollton and East Palestine.
Honored Masons and 50-year members were recognized along with district officers, grand pages and aides, past matrons and patrons of the Toronto chapter and past grand appointments.
Johns presented members of her church family and her own family.
Entertainment was provided by the quartet Power Surge.