The Suburbanite
  • Postcard from ... Plain Township: Spanning generations

  • As huge as the tree is in the lobby of First Christian Church, even more impressive is the size of the support shown for what is called the Generations Tree.

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  • “Every time I walk up and see it, I ask, ‘How did they get that in here,’ ” said the church member sitting at the reception desk — behind a towering decorated tree — at First Christian Church on Market Ave. N. “It’s a good-sized tree.”
    The Christmas tree, decorated for the season with both homemade and heirloom ornaments, is large enough that church workers had to cut a long length of it off the bottom so it would fit in the lobby of First Christian Church, said facilities manager Bill Webster.
    “It was 42 feet and we cut it to 24 feet,” said Webster, noting that the tree was a pine that needed to be removed from the adjacent Edgewood Golf Course. The tree is 17 feet in diameter and the star that tops it is 4 feet wide and tall.
    “The star has 250 lights and the tree has 900 lights,” noted Webster, who with church technical director Kevin Root provided the creative vision behind the holiday display.
    Still, as huge as the tree is, even more impressive is the size of the support shown for what is called the First Christian Church Generations Tree.
    “We’ve talked for years about putting up a live Christmas tree in the lobby,” said Joe Franz, executive pastor of First Christian Church. “There’s a sense of unity that we were trying to create. We wanted a focal point to bring unity across the generations.”
    In soliciting ornaments for the tree, church officials have unified the community, as well. Both members of the congregation and people in the community who use the church for its public purposes have contributed decorations. Some are vintage family ornaments from older individuals. Others are paper decorations newly constructed by children in church classes or public outreach programs.
    “It’s both a look back to times past and a look forward toward the future,” said Franz. “Christ is central to our lives. We celebrate what He’s done in our lives and what He’s going to do in the future.”
    Those supporting the celebration are numerous, notes a sign in front of the tree, which was donated by Mike Siefke of Edgewood Golf Course and selected by the Developmental Disabilities Maintenance Work Group. Lights were donated by Jim Boyer, Ali Monroe and Kaya McDonald. The star of lights was donated by Matt Smith and the tree skirt supplied by Diane Clements. Labor was done by the church maintenance staff and community service workers.
    Still, the tree is meant to be the work of everyone — those who helped create it and those who are encouraged by looking at it.
    “We hope that it would continue,” said Franz. “We would like to see it become not only a church tradition, but a community tradition.”

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