By, Pam Teel
The Millstone Times January 2019
On December 1st, The Allentown Presbyterian Church held an event called Advent Village. Maureen Harshman, Director of Children and Family Ministries, hosted the year- ly event, which advocates Christmas shopping in an alternate way, ways that will help other people. Advent Village was an opportunity for the greater Allentown community to par- ticipate in an alternative experience to commercial Christmas shopping that creates awareness of and supports the missions of Allentown Presbyterian Church.
By purchasing a gift at Advent Village you are be benefitting the lives of peo- ple who are in need, in the name of your loved one, fulfilling the call to care for the members of God’s family. The pur- chases directly benefit those whom the mission teams serve. Patrons receive Advent Village Christmas gift cards, which explain the purchase made, and the beneficiary of the gift.
The Education building next to the church was transformed into a Vic- torian Village for the day. Rooms and offices were changed into six different stations. Shoppers strolled through the Victorian village, complete with cre- ative Dickensian storefronts. Patrons got to shop and visit six mission stores with friendly and knowledgeable “shoppe owners” who explained their work in the mission field.
Children enjoyed visiting the Ye Olde Book Shoppe and Bakery supported by the APC Sunday School and Little Tree Preschool. Tree ornaments made by the young children’s classes were sold for a dollar or two.
The Ye Olde APC Café provided many delicious goodies and varied homemade lunch and dinner options. All food was donated and prepared by volunteer chefs allowing 100% of sales to benefit the work of the missions.
Entertainment was provided throughout the day by various enter- tainers. Some of the entertainers in- cluded the Trenton Children’s Choir, APC ROCK, Stepping Stones, and Youth choirs, APC Intergenerational Advent Choir, local talent, strolling minstrels, and more.
The six mission stations included:
The Allentown Good Neighbor Fund- money collected will be used to help those neighbors in need for such things as paying bills, assisting in rent money, etc.
The Allentown Food Pantry- dona- tions will go to those in need of hot meals, groceries, holiday food boxes, seeds to start a garden, etc.
The APC Guatemalan Mission- to help people in Guatemala by using the money towards shoes for people, doc- tors’ visits, purchasing a heating stove with a chimney, clean water, etc.
Homefront- donations help purchase warm socks, blankets, diapers, field trips for kids, etc.
Villages in a Partnership- Donate to help build schools in other countries, buy goats for families, furnish a class- room, etc.
Crossroads Youth and Ministry-help to spread the good word to children 11-30 at the Crossroads Youth Center located in Allentown.
The idea of the Advent Village was to change people’s ways of how they spend money at Christmas in buying things that people really don’t need and donating and purchasing some- thing that will go towards someone who does need; something that will really change a person’s life. This year the church has collected over $25,452 dollars, which will go to all six of their missions.
Donations and craft items are still available for purchase. If you would like to donate, please see the form. You can pick one mission or more and ac- tually see what your money is going for.
In the nine years that the church has been doing the advent village, they have managed to raise $214,000 dol- lars toward the causes. You can help bring that total up. If you want to make a difference in a person’s life, donate to someone who could really use a life saving gift!!!!!!
According to Ms. Harshman, “Advent Village 2018 was a day to remember! Memories abound with images of laughter, hugs and smiles shared; of gifts given to change lives. Advent Vil- lage is a day of transformation. Trans- forming not only the space of APC, but the space in our hearts as we are encouraged to think differently about how we spend our Christmas dollars and how we spend our time during Ad- vent and throughout the year: serving, loving, and helping others in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I hope you will join us next year for Ad- vent Village 2019 on Saturday, Decem- ber 7, 2019. Help us continue to help others.”This Christmas, give a gift that will change a life!”
To find out more about the APC and its programs go to: www.allentown- presbyterian.org. Allentown Presbyte- rian Church 20 High Street Allentown, NJ 08501(609) 259-7289.