GOSHEN — Maybe you fed a big group on Christmas Day. Not to take anything away from that accomplishment, but the people at First Presbyterian Church of Goshen probably had you beat.
Wednesday marked the 15th annual Christmas dinner offered at the church, located at 215 E. Lincoln Ave. Volunteers prepared a traditional meal that included ham, mashed potatoes, green beans and pie. Servers bustled to and from the tables set up in the dining area.
Near the stairs leading to the dining room, Marcia Yost was equal parts pedestrian traffic coordinator and greeter.
“Merry Christmas!,” she called out at one point.
Alan Griffin, pastor at First Presbyterian, spent part of his Christmas Day drying glasses. He estimated that 650 to 700 people are served at the annual event. Carryout and delivery service was also provided Wednesday, in addition to the meal offered at the church.
As he prepared to enjoy his Christmas meal, lifelong Goshen resident Kenneth Lynch praised the people who made it possible.
“It’s excellent,” he said of the community event. “I was here for Thanksgiving, too. It’s wonderful. They’re very nice people, and they seem genuine.”
Dennis Horen sat down to his first holiday meal at the church Wednesday afternoon. Horen’s family doesn’t live around here. Nonetheless, he had some holiday companionship in the fellow diners at his table.
Horen indicated his experience at the church Wednesday caused him to think about how he ought to give more.
“...I see the glow on these people’s faces that’s literally amazing, and I want what they have,” he said. “That’s just being Christian and giving and sharing love, the love that Christians believe comes from Christ. And I believe it, too.”
Horen was sitting next to Dave Wallace of Goshen, a member of the congregation who’s been helping with the church meal for around 15 years.
“It does my heart good to see that people have come,” Wallace said. “...It took a lot to get all this food ready.”
That food is provided to the community free of charge, with no donations sought to cover the cost.
“We want it to be our gift to the community,” Griffin said.
Count Wallace as part of the “we.”
“People say, ‘Do you want anything?’ No, we don’t want a thing,” he said. “We want to praise the Lord. We want to give something to the community.”