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2020 has been one for the books, and not in a good way. Between the thick layers of smoke that covered Chico for months, the reckoning we’ve all done regarding racial injustices, and a global pandemic, we’ve been through a lot. Many of our favorite annual traditions have gone by the wayside as we opt to keep our friends, neighbors, and loved ones safe by not meeting in-person.   

With all of this in mind, I was a bit tepid when I contacted Susan Reed regarding our annual Advent Workshop. This is one of the hallmarks of Faith Lutheran’s commitment to intergenerational community, and I worried that perhaps this year we would choose to skip the event. However, Susan was excited to work together to see what we could do, and so we moved forward with planning. As more and more families began to sign up for their own outdoor crafting table, the anticipation was building.   

On the day of the event I arrived at the church to find Susan and Kelly Tipton busy making preparations for our crafters. Each craft was neatly put together in individual kits, perfect for folks to pick up and return to the tables they had reserved. The most complex craft was the macromet angel, involving knot-tying and the use of a hairbrush. Crafters also made cute snowmen out of wooden beads, and a small nativity scene made of round wooden clothespins. Of course, Kelly did a terrific job of guiding our crafters in making their own beautiful Christmas wreaths. For the younger children there were several basic ornaments to be painted.     

As I wandered between the tables chatting with our crafters, everyone seemed very impressed with the quality of the crafts. Some die-hard crafters even remarked, “I do crafts all the time, and these are really good ones!” This is a testament to Susan’s preparations and vision! More than that, though, all of the families crafting together at their tables were enjoying quality time spent with one another.

One benefit of holding the event outside was the access to our playground. All of the young kids that came to the event seemed equally keen on running around and climbing on it as they did making crafts. For many of them, this was the first time they had played on a playground in a long time due to the COVID-19 closure of playgrounds in California. It was special to hear their excited, joyful shouts as they raced around playing.

While children were playing and crafters were crafting, it is worth mentioning that a team of folks were busy putting up Christmas lights in the courtyard. Led by Pastor Ben and Luke, Darby Sample, Dave Rush, Grant Sautner, and Greg Massa were able to put up an impressive array of lights.  

As our final crafters said their farewells, I helped Susan tidy things up and get things put away. We both felt quite encouraged by the attendance of this year’s event, especially considering its modified format. And, we both agreed, it was terrific to spend time with everyone as a Faith Lutheran community. As I powered down the speaker playing Christmas music and picked up the remaining branches of wreath greenery, I gave a quiet prayer of thanks for all the ways we have shown up for each other this year. We are indeed blessings to one another.   

Do you have an idea for an outdoor, socially-distanced event for our youth and families? Contact Colter at, as he is currently putting together the spring events calendar.