Making memories...and mangers at St. Joe Church
By NOREEN HYSLOP Managing Editor Dads and their children from St. Joe General Baptist Church in Idalia had an opportunity over the Christmas season to more closely identify with the "reason for the season." A total of 27 dads and children met at the church just prior to Christmas to complete a special "dad and kids" project -- he making of Christmas manger to be used for years to come as part of their holiday décor. The wood was all precut by a few of the more "carpenter friendly" fathers and older boys in the youth group of St. Joe's. Nail holes were even pre-drilled to make hammering easier on the younger or less experienced of the families. The event not only provided moms of the church with a day away from the children that served well to finish shopping and some last minute decorating. It also was designed as a special bonding time between dads and their young children. Families prepared for the event by reading some special Christmas devotions prior to the building day, provided to them by the church. Armed with the spirit of the season and their hammers and nails, dads and children went to work constructing their mangers to be put in place at their homes throughout the holidays. In the end, about a dozen households had a new manger to display and an improved appreciation of the meaning of Christmas. "The father is a key part to the family unit," said St. Joe Pastor Greg Stevens. "In today's world, time is a limited resource. This day helped our church's fathers seta aside time to spend with their children and gave them a keepsake to take home with a very powerful memory attached."