An extensive collection of nativity sets of all types—works of art by local artisans, humble handmade crafts, and unique sets from around the world—is put on display to the public for three nights during the Christmas season. Admission to this family event is free, and includes hot chocolate as well as some games and activities for children.
The displays were begun in 1998, and as many as 600 different nativity sets have been on display in recent years, well over half of them loaned by members of he congregation. Between two and three thousand visitors spend an hour or more in the display areas in the fellowship hall and the church sanctuary, all the while listening to some live Christmas music.
Here are some photos that you can browse from 2014.
Ecuador Medical/Dental Mission
Every year since 1996, a large medical/dental team led by congregation members Tom Greidanus (orthopedic surgeon) and more recently also Dan Van Berkel (dentist), along with their spouses and other family members and assistants, has travelled to Ecuador for two weeks to provide free knee and hip replacements and dental restorative treatment for people who would otherwise not be able to receive or afford such treatment.
The team brings a redemptive message of word and deed to needy people. In a typical year, the team members may see some 150 patients in consultation, perform 30 hip and knee replacements, up to 20 surgeries on children with clubfeet and dislocated hips, 400 tooth fillings, and 80 tooth extractions.
Teams of ten to twelve members and friends of the West End congregation have travelled to Honduras for a 10-day period each year since 2006 to build pilas (cisterns) and latrines, and concrete floors in homes and church buildings. They have also supplied funds for Eco stoves and a well project.
The work is organized through World Renew (formerly Christian Reformed World Relief Committee) in cooperation with Diaconia Nacional de Honduras, the local partner agency.
Fearfully & Wonderfully Made Project
An excerpt from Adrian and Carolyn’s story:
“One of the most important things we have learned in life is the importance of community. We could not have gotten through this without the overwhelming support and kindness of our family, friends, and church community.
I believe every life is precious and needs to be honored. Willem brought us so much joy and we wanted to bring that joy to others. As part of my healing, on what would have been Willem’s 1st birthday on January 10, we put together and delivered 20 bags to the maternity ward at the Lois Hole Hospital.”
“Since Willem’s 1st birthday we have continued to curate bags and have delivered to more than 100 families. These bags are full of carefully chosen items that we believe are both beautiful and practical. This project has pushed me out of my comfort and also inspired and encouraged me in ways I never could have imagined. My hope for this project is that we can work together to create community and bring joy to each other in memory of Willem Kees Huig Aarnoutse.”
Read their story and support the project by checking out the shop or making a donation at www.wonderfullymadeproject.com