Central Park, Vestavia congregations celebrate the connection


Central Park and Vestavia Hills United Methodist Churches teamed up to host a record-breaking Community Christmas Breakfast in the Central Park Community on December 15. Two attendance records were broken, with 400 people in attendance and 75 volunteers serving.

The annual Community Christmas Breakfast, an outreach ministry for the Central Park Community, features a delicious home-cooked breakfast, gives folks the opportunity to fellowship with their friends and neighbors, and allows children from lower-income families to receive a Christmas gift. Vestavia Hills UMC provides the breakfast, gifts for the children, and volunteer servants.

Many of the volunteers have been serving for several if not all of the last five years on the second Saturday in December, establishing a heartwarming seasonal tradition of mission service for their families. The partnership between Vestavia Hills and Central Park demonstrates the power of the United Methodist Connection.

Anna Watts, coordinator of the Christmas Breakfast for Vestavia Hills, and Central Park senior pastor Rev. Deborah Epley have seen the enthusiasm for the breakfast grow over five years. The enthusiastic, faithful volunteers serve as greeters, cooks, servers, and hosts. This year, Vestavia brought their Youth Band under the direction of Chris Whatley and the Praise Team Choir. In addition to the abundance of music to enjoy, children got the chance to make crafts and visit with Santa.

Dianne Harmon, Central Park Member, said she was deeply moved by the Vestavia Hills Youth, who assisted children with crafts, entertained them with music, and assisted older adults. The Youth were serving the Lord with glad and generous hearts. Central Park Neighborhood President Susan Palmer says the Central Park Community looks forward to the annual Christmas Breakfast and the opportunity that it gives residents to spend time in fellowship with neighbors.

The partnership between Vestavia Hills and Central Park celebrates the power of the United Methodist connection as it crosses racial, geographical, and generational boundaries to make the presence of Christ known in our midst.

"One of our church leaders became emotional when shetold me what she witnessed from Vestavia's youth," sad Rev. Epley. "This event is a visible testament to the beauty of the Body of Christ and the United Methodist connection."

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