TEMPLETON — Bethel Lutheran Church, Templeton, invites the public of all ages to a seasonal Santa Lucia Smorgasbord and Festival on Sunday, Dec. 9. Free of charge, the event, at the Templeton American Legion Hall, 805 S. Main St., features caroling, hot chocolate, talent show, children’s activities and more, 3-5 p.m., followed by a community potluck, 5 p.m. The afternoon also features the Templeton Ukulele Club.
“Santa Lucia Festival is a long-standing event for Scandinavians,” said Pastor Amy Beveridge. “It normally includes the presentation of Santa Lucia by crowning a local teenage girl with a headdress of lit candles. Even though Bethel is a diverse congregation, the festival has been continued here because it was founded by Swedes. Swedish farmers fired the bricks that still comprise our Sanctuary, which is a National Historical Landmark,” she said.
Bethel’s regular weekly worship continue Sundays, 9:30 a.m., during the Advent, pre-Christmas season. Services for all denominations on Christmas Eve, Monday, Dec. 24, are at 5 and 10 p.m. The 5 p.m. service includes the popular Instant Nativity Pageant of audience participation. The 10 p.m. service is a traditional candlelight worship.
Santa Lucia (loo-CHEE-ah), or Saint Lucy (Latin: Santa Lucia), whose name means ‘light,’ is the patron saint of the blind. Lucy was born in 283 AD in Syracuse, Sicily, and was killed there in 303 AD during the Roman persecution under Emperor Diocletian. She is venerated as a saint by the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Orthodox Churches.
Around Christmas time in Sweden, one of the biggest celebrations is St. Lucia’s Day (or St. Lucy’s Day) on Dec. 13. The celebration comes from stories that were told by Monks who first brought Christianity to Sweden.
Bethel is a congregation of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), the largest Lutheran denomination in the U.S. Bethel worships Sundays at 9:30 a.m. at 295 Old County Rd., Templeton. All are welcome.