BRISTOL – Visitors and church members attended the Hillside Community Church Pajamas and Pancakes Christmas brunch on Saturday to celebrate the holidays, faith and fellowship with one another.
“We wanted to plan a community event where everyone could come out and tell the story of Christmas, the birth of Jesus, and have fun doing handicrafts, pajamas and pancakes. We wanted to make it free so that everyone could enjoy it, ”said Sheena Jakum, the event organizer. “Our main goal is to tell the story of Christmas and the birth of Jesus.”
Sean Vanalstyne, elder and youth pastor, said a major focus of the event is youth.
“I am happy when the children come and have fun. It’s holiday time and we’re Hillside Community Church and we’re trying to have lots of community events to get the kids out, ”he said. “It’s exciting that they come through and enjoy what we do.”
This was the first ever pancake and pajama brunch. Among other things, the Church organizes a Summer Bible School and Upwards Basketball for first to sixth grade students starting in January.
As part of the holiday event, families shared with hot cocoa, pancakes, crafts, cookie decorations, a live nativity scene, and storytelling.
Teresa Chadha and her niece helped serve pancakes to visitors with the help of Xander Asensio, a member of the Hillside Community Church Youth Group.
“Part of the Christmas season is giving and sharing the love of God and Jesus,” said Chadha. “We’re here to share love with the community by giving them pancakes, hot chocolate, and coffee. We also make homemade cards for seniors who can’t get out … It’s that time of year to give and share love. This is great for me. I’d rather share the experience of doing good to others than buying a gift. ”
Gina Petersen, Chadha’s niece, said she was visiting her aunt, who is from Bethel and is a nurse who teaches at Fairfield University.
“I am really grateful to be here and to learn about the mission of this church. It seems like they are really open to everyone and from the moment you walk in you can see that you belong here and that speaks to everyone, ”said Petersen.
Asensio said he wasn’t sure what his favorite thing to do at the event, but thought they were all great.
“I think it’s cool that everyone is coming out and hanging out and learning about Christmas and eating pancakes,” said Asensio.
Hillside Community Church pastor Jason Jakum said he thought the event was great when the congregation came to church. Sheena and Jason are married.
“It’s been a difficult couple of years and we wanted to do something for the community that they can come and enjoy,” said the pastor. “We also wanted to present the truth about Jesus. Really, it was my wife’s work and we wanted to feed people, do handicrafts and have a crib to open the doors. ”
Jason said it was important to host events like this to lift the spirits of others after a difficult time, and especially during the holiday season.