JACKSON TWP. Ever wonder how many hours and how many people it takes to decorate some of the local churches? The Church of the Lakes makes decorating its place of worhip a fellowship event with 25 to 30 volunteers from the church donating four hours to get "God’s church" ready for the advent season.
The Church of the Lakes calls the decorating event The Hanging of the Greens. It’s a tradition that began in the 1970s and was called the Colonial Williamsburg Metrical Dinner. Then, there was only one tree, a fresh cut evergreen, and not as many decorations. The church members would come in costume to have dinner, sing and the pastor would recite The Christmas Carol.
Today’s decorations are no longer fresh cut and take much more of a labor of love to complete.
"It will take every hand we have here today about four hours to get the trees, garland and wreaths up on the inside and the outside of the church," said Jo Jacobs, worship chair and organizer of the annual event.
The members make a day of putting up the decorations, starting with lunch. Then the kids get to have fun doing a variety of crafts and other activities while the adults go to work.
Jacobs said the first step is to bring all the decorations down from the attic. Next, the wreaths and garland are laid out for fluffing and straightening. At the same time, the four large Christmas trees are each opened in the area they will stand. Groups of volunteers lay out the trees and start assembling and fluffing up.
"We usually do this the Sunday before Advent. Which Advent starts on Dec. 2, so we held the decorating party the Sunday after Thanksgiving," Jacob said.
Pastor Bryan George was helping put together the 16-foot tree in the sanctuary of the church. He said the event is more than just about decorating.
"Many hands make light work for getting the church ready for advent," George said. "It’s an atmosphere of tradition for decorating God’s church and bringing beauty into the worship place out of fellowship for faith families. One of our missions is to know Christ and make Christ known through worship, prayer, fellowship, discipleship and service."
He said that there are four different Sunday services and many members tend to stay with the same time each week. The Hanging of the Greens brings people together from all service times.
"This is a chance for members who may not know each other to come together to get to know each other while working together," George said.
Jacob said the decorations will remain up through Jan. 6th this year. She said the items come down a lot faster and easier than they go up and a smaller group of volunteers will get the job done during one Saturday morning.
For more information about the Church of the Lakes on Fulton Road in Jackson Township, visit https://churchofthelakes.org/.