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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Honoring this St. Nick

Don't forget this historic saint in the hustle-and-bustle of December

St. Nicholas Day (Dec. 6) can easily get overlooked in the hustle and bustle of December, but not at Arlington Hills Lutheran Church, St. Paul, Minn. The church holds two events at the beginning of December to mark the season's significance.

Bob Hansen,
Bob Hansen, "St. Nicholas," makes a surprise visit to Arlington Hills Lutheran Church, St. Paul, Minn.

Along with other local organizations, Arlington Hills sponsors a tree-lighting and carol-singing event (accompanied by a Salvation Army band) for the community at a nearby park. Then they go to the park's recreation center to serve hamburgers and other refreshments to the crowd (last year approximately 125) free of charge. The church used to line up grills and cook hot dogs but have since partnered with the park's recreation center and local businesses for food and coffee.

Donated gifts are given to the children at the community event and during worship.

Last year organizers added a visit from Nicholas, the fourth-century saint who serves as a model for Santa Claus. Nicholas put coins in the shoes left out for him and was known for helping the poor. Ask the kids at Arlington Hills — they now know all about him.

The church's "St. Nicholas" (Bob Hansen, 86) arrived at the community tree-lighting and, because the costume didn't have to be returned until Monday, he also made a surprise visit to worship the next morning during the children's sermon.

St. Nicholas' visit will be part of the event again this year, said member Anita Rylander.

For more information, contact Anita Rylander by email.


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