Family Christmas Services

In June, 2016, MSUS celebrated its 50th Anniversary. This article focuses on the church's Family Christmas Services.

From our first year, 1966, MSUSers have congregated to celebrate the winter holidays in a variety of ways. “Family Christmas Services” were often held on an evening near Christmas to sing carols, read stories, hear musicians (usually the older kids) and enjoy refreshments or a potluck.

Gifts and donations were collected for SACA over the years or other groups including Head Start (1969), our Indian family (1970), Anoka County Community Action Program (ACCAP) in 1987, and Alexandra House (over many years).

The Mitten Tree has been a tradition since the early years to collect winter wear for children in need. After the Holiday Bazaar, all unsold knitted items were used to "seed" the Mitten Tree

50th Anniversary Trivia !!

TRIVIA QUESTION: What kind of Christmas holiday celebrations have occurred at MSUS?

BONUS QUESTION: What did TWAN do and when??

ANOTHER BONUS QUESTION: Has MSUS held services when Christmas falls on a Sunday??

Scroll down for the answers.








50th Anniversary Trivia Answers

TRIVIA QUESTION: What kind of Christmas holiday celebrations have occurred at MSUS?

  1. Christmas Family Night gatherings featuring music and food. Starting in 1966, these evening gatherings occurred on an evening near Christmas. Music and readings provided by the members and youth were featured. In 1967, members were invited to a fried chicken dinner with all the fixings for $.25 per person!
  2. Evening Christmas Eve services held at 5 p.m. included carols, readings, and refreshments. Lisa Monson-Hokenson started these services in 1991.
  3. The first Christmas Pageant was held in 1992 and variations of the pageant and Holiday plays occurred through the 1990’s.
  4. A special collection was taken in December to fund Christmas gift donations and food baskets to specific families or charitable organizations and in recent years, the Minister’s Discretionary Fund.
  5. Holiday Music Concerts were started in 2009. Bruce Van Bronkhorst started Holiday Concerts to showcase the many MSUS Music Groups in a formal concert.
  6. Sunday school children helped at SACA sorting gifts and packing food baskets.
  7. The Men’s Group held their first Holiday Brunch in December 2009, raising funds for Alexandra House.

BONUS QUESTION: What did TWAN do and when??

TWAN (Teens Without A Name) hosted a “Candlelight Christmas” on December 20, 1970, an evening program for the church and continued it until 1973.

ANOTHER BONUS QUESTION: Has MSUS always had services when Christmas falls on a Sunday??

When Christmas fell on the Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, services were not always held. It was hard – or impossible to lure speakers to Fridley on holidays, often members were tapped to do the service. Many times the service relied on readings, carols, and music performed by members and Sunday School children. Over the years these were organized by Marge Carter, Connie Metcalf, Marti Reckdahl, Rosemary Lawrence, Ron Bullard and Marie Phillips.

Most notably for several years, Lisa Monson-Hokenson has been a mainstay in a 5 p.m. Christmas Eve service organizing participation with music and readings.

No morning service was held on Sunday, 12-24-1972. On Sunday, 12-23-1973 an evening Candlelight service was held instead of a morning service led by TWAN. Bob Hughes delivered sermons on Sundays that were either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day in 1977, 1978 and 1983. Later, Ron Bullard led services on Sunday mornings that fell on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

MSUS ministers Rev. Lisa Doege in 2008 and Rev. Dana Reynolds III in 2009, 2010, and 2011 held Christmas Eve twilight services. Christmas Day Services were not held on Dec. 25, 2011.