Rockwell church invites community to join in food, fellowship on Christmas day
ROCKWELL — A holiday meal with all the fixings fed a group of more than a dozen people gathered at Restoration Church on Christmas Day, but it was the company that filled them up.
“Christmas can be a wonderful time, but it can also be a very lonely time,” said Pauline Fesperman, who helped organize the meal. “There are a lot of people without, who don’t have family in the area, so we just open up our church for people to come have fellowship.
“Our aim is to be a blessing to those that are hurting.”
Even though Herman and Sandy Crews didn’t make it to the annual gathering, they felt that blessing as fellow church members Petey and Michelle Smith arrived at their door to drop off food.
The couple traveled about 12 miles from the church to the Crews’ home located in Castlewood home off Jake Alexander Boulevard.
They received a welcome with warm hugs after knocking on the family’s door.
The Crews have been sick this holiday season with Herman just recently receiving his 28th radiation treatment for cancer and Sandy coming down with a virus.
“We have not been well, but we know that the Lord is healing us,” Sandy said.
But that hasn’t broken their spirits.
“This is the best Christmas we’ve ever had,” Herman said. “Our church family and this couple have just been so good to us.”
Sandy said the only thing more important than her church family this Christmas was Jesus Christ.
“They are closer to me than my own blood family,” she said. “We are blessed to have them, they are so precious.”
Fesperman said church members pitch in to help out with the meal, which they have offered free to the community for the past three years.
Both turkey and ham were served alongside everything from baked beans to potato salad. The meal also included less traditional Christmas dishes like broccoli and cheese soup.
But Christmas isn’t the only time church members gather for a meal and invite members of the community to join them.
The last Monday of each month, they host “Loaves and Fishes.”
“The vision of our church is to return to be like the first church and that’s what we try to do,” Fesperman said. “We just open the door to our church and welcome people to have fellowship, to let them know that we truly care.”
Church member Robin Coley said she hopes the church will feed many more people in the future both physically and spiritually.
“We want to go out to the people, to be a real community church,” she said. “Jesus didn’t stay in the synagogue and neither should we.”
Petey Smith said the church plans to use its new concession trailer to raise money to help out in the community and travel to serve victims of disasters like Hurricane Sandy.
As the meal winded down Tuesday, people gathered in the kitchen to make plates for their less fortunate friends, the ones like the Crews family who were unable to leave their homes this Christmas.
Talking and the laughing continued as they sat around a large table, dressed in red and gold tablecloths, finishing off their cheesecake and warm coffee.
“Spending time with other people is what Christmas is all about,” Fesperman said.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.