A few ornaments on some trees, some poinsettias and a bit of food sounds like the makings of a great Christmas. Folks at the First and Calvary Presbyterian Church are hoping the hundred of guests they'll host today for its annual Christmas dinner think so.
"We can't help but think of Mary and Joseph traveling alone, Mary being pregnant and traveling and ultimately being welcomed in and we want to be a place that welcomes people in, in that way" says associate Pastor Greg Ellis.
They call it the "Christmas Dinner for Those Alone." It started in 1981, 32 years ago. Each year they serve a traditional meal of corn, potatoes and ham. Empty tables and chairs right now will soon be filled with about 800 guests, a reason why volunteers here have to start preparations days in advance and a hundred volunteers will be helping this year.
Church member of 15 years Gloria VanHook says that at this time of year, it's all about making other feel loved and welcomed, something the church is aiming at doing. "We have so many people and so many people that don't have any place to go on Christmas, that they come in and enjoy the companionship and and comradery of meeting people" says VanHook.
Pastor Ellis says The three free dinners will take place at 11:30, 12:15 and 1 this afternoon.
"We hope that they feel at home here and we hope that by this extension of hospitality that they will have just a little glimmer of the welcoming inviting hospitality that God extends to the world" says Ellis.