Simple Gifts

Moravian reached outside itself to make the holiday season happier for others.

The activity that involved the most people was held December 15 at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity, the seat of Bethlehem’s Episcopal diocese. There, about 100 people from three nearby senior communities and from the South Bethlehem Neighborhood Center, a drop-in facility for the economically distressed run by the churches of Southside Ministries, were served a holiday dinner of turkey and all the trimmings.

The guests ranged from families without much money to a group of deaf people, from homeless men to jobless single mothers and their children. The food came from the Wood Co., which manages the College’s dining service, and the servers were faculty and staff members. Several trustees were on hand, too, including Priscilla Payne Hurd and Frederick Reinhard (in a Santa hat).

The setting was festive: red and green tablecloths with little sleighs made of gold mesh and filled with red, green, and silver candy kisses as centerpieces. Up-tempo music was provided by a jazz trio consisting of Tom Mondschein of the Center for Information Technology on guitar and two Moravian music students, Kyle Slemmer ’05 of North Wales, saxophone, and Justin De Angelo ’02 of Forest City, piano.

President Rokke, who had written ERV in big letters on his nametag, greeted a man who roared back: “Hi, Erv! Can you guess my nickname? It’s Rocky!”
Most of the other guests came in family groups, bringing a lively number of children. The most valuable asset of anyone there may have been possessed by Flor María Buitrago and Mirta Pimentel, visiting instructors of Spanish, who made several families from Mexico and Colombia feel the warmth of hearing their own language spoken.

Deborah Evans, the College’s director of constituent relations, made friends with 2-year-old Patricia, whose huge eyes were round with interest as Evans carried her around the room.

Meanwhile, youngsters drifted onto the little stage at one end of Sayre Hall, the cathedral social room. There, Anne Dutlinger (art) and a small corps of helpers—Cas Sowa (international studies), Connie Unger and Bob Mayer, (education), Carol Meixsell (benefits manager), Terry Fitzpatrick (facilities), and Loren Marquardt, an art teacher at Easton High School and an adjunct instructor of painting at Moravian—had set up tables of wrapping paper scraps, silver streamers, tape, glue, scissors, and glitter.

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George Weisl, adjunct faculty member in education, serves holiday fare to an eager guest at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity as his wife, Ann, looks on and Peg Story gets ready for the next dinner.

Photo: Susan Woolley