Local News Archive
Print Issue: January 1, 1970
A Black Santa Claus At St. Thomas More
By Anne Shuttleworth
We are one in Christ regardless of our separation by race, or geographic location, or economic situation. It is especially appropriate for Christians to come together at Christmas time... and it is the role of the Church to bring people together, spoke Father John Stathas at the covered dish dinner given by the Christian Family Movement of St. Thomas More Church.
The occasion was one of several events in which the parishioners of St. Thomas More joined with the people of the nearby Beacon Hill area to share the festive spirit of the Christmas season. The more than one hundred black and white guests came together for an evening of Scripture reflection, carol singing, dinner and conversation.
The opportunity for communication within a mixed group such as this must surely be the greatest result of such an evening, commented Mrs. Jesse Dixon, who along with her husband and Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Smallwood organized the evening. Not just communication about problems and politics, she continued, but just ordinary friendly everyday conversation. This is an important beginning to a feeling of community.
The young people of St. Thomas More also experienced this sense of community as they joined with the youth of Beacon Hill for their own Christmas celebrations. More than 100 young children from the neighborhood attended a Christmas party with singing and dancing, candy, gifts, and a black Santa Claus.
It was a really good feeling to see the expressions of delight and even bewilderment of some as these kids saw a black Santa Claus, says Rodney Tyler, the teen who played the role for the afternoon. I think it made the party a lot more special to have a Santa Claus of their own race and it was good to feel that maybe we had done something to make Christmas a little happier for them.
The pupils of Sister Elaines sixth grade class also shared their holiday spirit. They had the sixth graders from the Beacon Hill school as their guests at a program of song and dance, with the entire group enjoying refreshments afterwards.
Because of the generosity of the entire parish, the sisters of St. Thomas More were able to collect food and toys to be given to the EOA office in the nearby area. These were given to the neediest families of the neighborhood.
Taking advantage of the spirit of the holiday season the people of St. Thomas More are, as one parishioner put it, at last beginning to feel the sense of community that we are physically. This feeling, many hope, is just the beginning.