The youngest members of St. Andrew’s Kirk as well as children from the neighboring Grants and Bain Town communities were reminded of the reason for the season by intern youth pastor Jude Vilma, as he shared the message of Jesus Christ, interspersed with inspiration and hope with the story of Joseph and the coat of many colors during the Kirk’s fourth annual Christmas party.
Vilma also encouraged 120 children that enjoyed the festivities in the Kirk’s hall to rise above any adversity they face and to not be afraid to walk in their purpose.
During the Christmas party held at the Kirk, the children engaged in singing carols, played games, drank and feasted on food compliments of McDonald’s, and collected gifts.
“This event is a highlight of the year for the children, many of whom look forward to the annual event,” said Earla Bethel, clerk of session at the Kirk and president of DanBrad Ltd, the parent company of McDonald’s which has sponsored the annual Christmas party since its inception. “For me this is something very special. We are able to give back to the community that we serve and see the smiles on these youngsters’ faces just to have a meal with all of their contemporaries. For some of them they may not have another special meal for this year, so it’s gratifying to know that by partnering with The Kirk, we give a hand to these kids.”
No strangers to the Kirk, the children, ages two to 17, are an integral part of the church, some of whom attend Sunday school, participate in various personal development groups and have been recipients of the benevolence of church and visiting missionaries throughout the year.
First-time attendee Carltonique Smith said the gift she was given was on her Christmas wish list and she couldn’t wait to play with the doll she received.
Being able to host triple digit numbers at the event is something Earla Bethel, clerk of session at the Kirk credited to Senior Pastor, Bryn MacPhail.
“When Pastor MacPhail joined the church, the Sunday school had five children,” said Bethel. “That number has since grown to over 100. He would go into the neighboring communities, play basketball with the youngsters, meet the parents and fostered a relationship with them. He genuinely loves and cares for these children.”
MacPhail was installed as pastor at the Kirk in June 2010 following an eight-year ministry at St. Giles Kingsway Presbyterian Church in Toronto, Canada.
MacPhail said the gifts were primarily supplied by the Sandals Foundation but that they also received donations from Evolve Functional Fitness, St. Andrew’s Kirk and the Inner Wheel Club of Rotary East Nassau.