In his fifth year as pastor of Lincoln St. Luke United Methodist Church, the Rev. Curt Magelky was almost ready to let his Advent tradition lapse.
For three years, Magelky and members of the church had created small wooden keepsakes to distribute to children and youth in the congregation weekly during the season.
The first year was a nativity set in plain wood, coated in varnish. The second year was a four-piece wooden Advent wreath.
“This year I wanted to do something different, like an Advent calendar,” he said, “but I couldn’t figure how to do it to split it up over four or five weeks.”
While the project starts coming together in late August and early September, this year Magelky was stumped.
“It’s a weird year,” he said. “Some of us are here, some of us are still at home.”
With just a few weeks before Advent, Magelky stumbled onto the craft site Pinterest, where he saw commercially produced Advent pieces, wooden with a vinyl cover, that he wanted to emulate.
“My wife just got a Cricut last year for Christmas,” he said of Cheri’s craft-cutting machine. “She really got into vinyl and crafts, and (I asked) ‘Could you do something like this?’”
Magelky cuts the pieces, and another church member paints before them before they’re sealed in vinyl by Cheri.
About 40 children this year are receiving an Advent piece — an angel, shepherd, Joseph, Mary and, on Christmas Eve, baby Jesus — during the children’s church service, which precedes the 10:30 a.m. worship, along with an explanation of the significance of each figure.
Hannah Hollman, 15, said she’s come to enjoy anticipating each week in Advent.
“It’s something to look forward to each week, and each one’s new and different and makes a collection,” she said.
Magelky said he was inspired to make the pieces by a similar project that his former district superintendent, the Rev. Bill Ritter, who created pieces for his congregations in Columbus.
“It’s just really cool to be able to give the kids something, to tell them in a tangible way the story of Christmas,” Magelky said.
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