By Sharon Mager
KENSINGTON, Md., — Kensington Baptist Church, Md., had their annual English as a Second Language (ESL) Christmas party on Dec. 17 at the church.
About thirty people attended, enjoying a carry-in meal with American, Ethiopian and Brazilian food.
Barbara Bryant, who teaches the church’s ESL classes along with Barbara DeNoyer, who also teaches ESL and citizenship classes, said the evening was one of relaxing, sharing a meal together, and telling about their cultures’ favorite holidays and customs.
“It’s a way to practice English — to tell about their favorite holidays and what they do,” Bryant said. It’s also a gentle way to share the Gospel.
Discussing Christmas, Filipino students shared that they begin decorating for Christmas in September. Ethiopian students explained that their calendar is different. They celebrate Christmas on Dec. 29, preceded by a time of fasting, then feasting and a big gathering with much food.
Bryant said that in Mexico they have “posadas,” religious celebrations with processions, acting
out the nativity, and hugging and kissing the baby Jesus doll before enjoying a time of music and dancing.
A favorite part of the Christmas party was hitting the piñata which was filled with candy from Mexico, brought by an ESL student.
“The kids were so excited,” Bryant said, and they insisted the adults take turns batting at it as well, which brought much laughter.
Students also heard American Christmas traditions including the reading of, “The Night Before Christmas,” by Clement Clarke Moore; the legend of the candy cane; and, the story of the birth of Jesus from the book of Luke, shared by Kensington Baptist Church Pastor William George, and his wife, Diane.
Would your church like to start an ESL program? Read more about this program on our website and register for January classes.