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Christmas wreath

Family Carries On Christmas Tradition

Photo Essay by Katie Morford

Christmas pageant players
Children dressed as a shepherd and a donkey prepare for the nativity pageant portion of the service.

For many Kansans the holiday season is a special time to celebrate and spend time with family. In the small farming community of Stafford, Christmas is not only about the family, it is also all IN the family.

Every year Calvary Baptist Church in Stafford holds a Christmas Eve service, which includes special music and a nativity pageant. The church was founded in 1909 by German immigrants and parishioners continued to speak German until the late 40s.

August Hildebrand, 95, a grandson of church founder Franz Hildebrand, says the church has held a Christmas Eve service for as long as he could remember. Treat bags were given to the children after the service, a tradition which continues to this day.

Christmas pageant service
Sheep watch with interest as their shepherds discuss the angel's news.

The 2008 Christmas Eve service nativity pageant was co-written by Lauren Hildebrand, 14, a great-great-granddaughter of Franz Hildebrand. Several family members and relatives participated in the pageant and service, including the great-great-great-granddaughter of Franz Hildebrand, Jaycie, who sings in a children's choir.

Church members and visitors alike enjoy the opportunity to embrace the warmth and family tradition of the Calvary Baptist Christmas Eve service.

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Last Updated January 12, 2009-
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