This past Saturday evening, the Bates Christian Fellowship (BCF) hosted a Christmas Dinner to celebrate the holiday season with the Bates community. The event was festive, heartwarming, relaxed, and welcoming. Hosted in the Benjamin Mays Center, the space was cozy and warm as any Christmas dinner should be. With a combination of delicious food, wonderful entertainment, and friends all around, BCF provided a great night for all guests.

The evening started off with an informal review of the night’s program and a prayer, led by BCF co-president Brie Wilson ’18. The prayer was gracious and loving towards all in the room and the greater Bates community, and set aside a moment for the guests to reflect on the networks of people that exist in their lives. Next, a bible reading was given by another BCF member before dinner started. The thoughtful reading segued the guests from contemplation into dinner.

With over 75 attendees, there was an abundance of delicious food to go around. Catered by DaVinci’s, the Italian buffet-style meal provided the perfect kind of comfort food that goes along with a holiday dinner. As guests ate, the room was filled with cheerful chatter and bible readings were shared intermittently throughout the meal. Each reading highlighted a theme important within the Christian community and the holiday of Christmas. The readings also provided a platform for reflection as well as reminders of the historical and religious context of Christmas.

Not only were students in attendance, but professors and other staff and faculty members also filled the room. BCF members, non-members, and many students of other faiths and beliefs mixed together to celebrate the holiday season. Additionally, some Lewiston and Auburn community members were in attendance.

BCF connects students with families in town, and some of these families joined students for a dinner to celebrate the holiday season. The dinner acted as a special opportunity for BCF members to spend time with both their Bates friends and these connected families within the same setting. The meal highlighted the important role of the greater Lewiston-Auburn community with BCF and their impact on members of the club.

Danielle Fournier ’18, a co-president of BCF, said the dinner is “the annual gathering of all of the people who make Bates Christian Fellowship happen throughout the year. It is a joyful event and one of my favorite nights of the year at Bates.”

After dinner, a dessert provided by the families was served to all guests as the Gospelaires performed. Their beautiful harmonies fit perfectly with the tone of the event and gave the room a classic holiday feel. They sang gospel songs about being grateful for the life that they have in relation to Christianity; these were particularly relevant due to the time of year and the birth of Jesus.

Upon a quick observation, it was clear that all of the attendees were full of joy resultant from spending time with friends and family. Even in this busy time of the semester, with finals coming up and stress levels elevated, the Christmas dinner provided a calm space that was perfect for celebrating the holiday season here at Bates. I look forward to many more relaxing and thoughtful Christmas Dinners with BCF and the L/A community in the years to come.