Mark your calendars. This January a multi-denominational faith-based event welcomes Falls newcomers.The holidays are over after New Years. The pressure of activities is finally slowing. But wait! Christmas is twelve days long! Remember the song! What happened to the rest of Christmas?
On the twelfth day of Christmas, Christians remember the visit of the Magi. It falls on January 6, but is often celebrated on the next weekend. So we’ll celebrate on Saturday, January 7.
Twelfth Night, Epiphany or Three Kings Day is associated with gift-giving. It marks the Magi’s entry into the Christmas saga and the gifts they brought with them, including gold, frankincense and myrrh. Eastern Christian traditions celebrate it as Greek or Russian Orthodox Christmas.
A tradition of Twelfth Night is blessing homes.
The event, still in its planning stages will feature a community potluck, presentations of neighborhood churches and a house-blessing ceremony.
“We see the event as a way of welcoming the many new families moving to East Falls,” said Judith Gotwald.
East Falls Twelfth Night Celebration is sponsored by members Redeemer Lutheran Church, which is being gutted for apartments. “We want to remain active in our community where many of our members and families have served for decades and generations,” said Gotwald, a Redeemer member.
“Redeemer lost its building to a denominational land grab,” Gotwald said. “We began to wonder, ‘What’s the future of faith communities in attractive urban neighborhoods where land is more valuable than mission?’ It’s a problem that is not likely to go away—at least as long as there are churches with property in neighborhoods like East Falls.”
Redeemer is not alone. St. Bridget’s lost their school to the lure of development. Land rights have been challenged at St. James the Less and Falls Baptist.
Redeemer is working with other community members in planning this event.
All Falls congregations are invited to take part. Congregations can share something from their holiday celebrations—a skit, recitation or musical number. It’s multi-denominational as opposed to non-denominational.
Redeemer is in a unique position. “We were a congregation turned inside out. We had no meeting space and little voice. We were forced to listen and observe. We were on the outside looking in,” Gotwald said.
“We listened to young families working to provide a community play space closer to the homes of most of the community. A need that surfaced was the difficulty new neighbors have meeting one another. The proposed play space would be as much for the parents as for the children! Hmm. That was once a function of faith communities.
“We have a 116-year history in the Falls. We struggled with the rest of the neighborhood during the post-60s social change during which young people left for the suburbs. Tables have turned. Urban communities are attracting families. Newcomers to the Falls are talking about staying even after their children reach school age.”
With the construction of hundreds of new rental units, that need is going to grow.
Come, share your traditions. Get to know all the faith traditions.