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Commentary: Christmas for the City

Commentary: Christmas for the City
December 20
04:00 2017

Tis the season to be jolly – we are just a mere few days away from Christmas –  the most valued holiday out of the entire year.  At the center of Christmas is Christ, which gave us only two commandments, one being to “love thy neighbor as thyself.”

Community organizers have been working tirelessly all season preparing for the largest Christmas party in Winston-Salem – “Christmas for the City [CFTC].”  For the past nine years, local churches, businesses and members of the arts community have come together to host a free citywide Christmas party that features live music and arts performances, original work by local artists, a make-your-own toy workshop and Santa Claus.

“People really desire when our community comes together and CFTC provides a neutral place to celebrate with one another,” Love Out Loud Executive Director Chuck Spong stated. [Love Out Loud leads the production of CFTC.]

Winston-Salem is a diverse community made up of rural and urban residents, young families, and retired people with a diversified set of religious, cultural, socio-economic and racial backgrounds.  Sometimes those varied differences work to separate us and create a divide that require us to proactively bridge gaps and develop social capital.

“We have many chasms to cover,” Spong declared.  “CFTC brings together families, single moms, lawyers, unemployed dads and even the homeless,” he further shared.

The original CFTC event was held at the Millennium Center located across the street from the city’s public transportation center.  The homeless often congregate in the vicinity and grew curious about the event and what organizers were doing, so they invited them to attend. 

Today the annual event attracts over 10,000 people from across Forsyth County representing a wide generational, racial, and socio-economic group of residents.  The event is now hosted at the Benton Convention Center.

Despite the large number of visitors to the event, organizers have remained clear they are hosting a Christian centered event, demonstrating the characteristics of Jesus Christ.  “There is no spiritual litmus test to attend the event, but we do make sure attendees understand that we are celebrating Christmas, “said Chuck Spong.

The large-scale Christmas party is completely organized and hosted by local nonprofits, churches and individual volunteers.  This year 125 leaders and over 1,200 volunteers will support the event and they expect to serve 2,500 meals to a broad cross-section of the city.  Not to mention 110 local businesses, 72 churches, 47 nonprofits and schools will contribute to CFTC.

Former Clemmons Mayor and local Rev. John Bost is one of the largest supporters of the annual celebration – in addition his wife helps guests to experience the festive nature of the season with her creative decorations. 

“CFTC is an example of what can happen when a community lays down their bias and trust the Christ among us to provide a connective tissue that makes comfortable and joyous the brief time we share each year, with all contributing their gifts in the presence of love,” said Bost.

The entire city is invited to this free Christmas party at the newly renovated Benton Convention Center, located at 301 West Fifth Street in Downtown Winston-Salem, on [today] Thursday, Dec. 21.  Doors will open at 4 p.m. and you can expect the various activities to wind down around 9 p.m.

CFTC will be packed inside and out with several family-friendly activities for all ages – a kids room with toy workshop, arts, crafts projects, performances and, of course, Santa Claus.

Merry Christmas!

Algenon Cash is the managing director of Wharton Gladden & Company, an investment banking firm, he is also a national spokesperson for the oil and natural gas industry.  Reach him at acash@nullwhartongladden.com.

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