Public invited to ‘Christmas in July’ | Local News

It began after Christmas in 2017.

The Rev. Russ McDowell, then pastor of St. Timothy Lutheran Church, was taking a vacation day on the last Sunday of that December.

So member Wanda Samson planned a Christmas service.

“When the day came, it was snowy and cold and church was cancelled so I was a little sad,” Samson said.

In early 2018, Samson suggested a “Christmas in July” so the church could have the service she’d planned.

The church council approved Samson’s idea and, ever since, the last Sunday in July has become “Christmas in July.”

This year, the event starts with a worship service at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, July 31 in the church at 538 W. 16th St., Fremont.

The public is invited to the event, which is a joint service with Salem Lutheran Church in Fremont.

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“This is something that brings our two congregations together,” said the Rev. Shari Schwedhelm, pastor of both churches.

Those who attend are encouraged to wear Christmas shirts, ties and jewelry or even just red or green attire.

“I always wear a Christmas shirt,” said Samson, event coordinator. “My Christmas shirts have cats on them so I can guarantee a cat Christmas shirt.”

If they’d like to participate, attendees may bring nonperishable items, which St. Timothy congregants will donate to the Care Corps’ LifeHouse food pantry. Attendees also may donate items for Salem’s food distribution ministry called, “The Table.”

“People can choose which hunger program their donations go to,” Schwedhelm said.

Schwedhelm said Salem’s ministry always needs breakfast cereal, jelly and canned tuna.

During the church service, participants will sing 11 Christmas hymns. It also will include a Christmas creed written by Martin Luther, while the sermon consists of a history of four of the hymns.

Guests are invited to stay after the service for a potluck meal and need not bring anything.

“There’s always plenty of food,” Samson said.

Those who’d like to bring something are invited to bring a Christmastime food.

“I’m going to make Christmas mints,” Samson said.

Samson invites the public to join the holiday fun.

“You don’t have to feel weird about wearing a shirt or bringing something that you might eat at a Christmas meal,” she said.

Schwedhelm also encourages the public to attend.

“It’s just a really fun service and an opportunity to celebrate Christ’s birth year round,” Schwedhelm said.

And that can include celebrating in the middle of the summer.

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