A local church wants to provide fellowship and a warm meal this Christmas.

The St. Maries Community Presbyterian Church will provide a free dinner for everyone on Christmas day. The group plans to serve a traditional Christmas dinner, and pastor Janet Potter said that those who attend are welcome to bring a dish they want to share.

“It’s not entirely a potluck,” Pastor Potter said, “but we do encourage people to bring one of their favorite Christmas dishes to share with everyone if they would like.”

The Christmas day dinner has been a community staple for around four years. The organization of the event was first put together thanks to a local couple who both attend the Presbyterian church, Shirley and Ray Williams.

“We always had a feeling that we should do a dinner,” Mrs. Williams said. “We have had between 65 and 70 people before and its worth doing. Its good for them and it’s good for us.”

Pastor Potter said that the couple have been extremely generous to help organize and fund the dinner each year. She said that Mr. and Mrs. Williams also have helped with the cooking and serving each year as well.

“Shirley is a really good cook,” Pastor Potter said. “She is familiar with what it takes to feed a lot of people.”

She said that Mr. and Mrs. Williams had the idea to provide a dinner for those who didn’t have a place to go on Christmas or those who do not have family to spend the holiday with.

“They felt strongly that they want those who attend to feel comfortable,” Pastor Potter said. “They don’t want people to have to spend Christmas alone. Ray and Shirley want to provide a place to go, they welcome everyone and want them to feel at home.”

Pastor Potter said that Mr. Williams has been battling cancer and he and Mrs. Williams will sadly not be able to make it this year. Mrs. Williams said that she will still be preparing food for the dinner.

“I’m going to try and cook here, I know the dinner is in marvelous hands and we have a good group,” Mrs. Williams said. “It will be Janet’s first time being able to attend the dinner, so I am happy she gets to enjoy it. We just love to support the dinner, it is a good thing and a feel good day for us and the people who attend. It shows what Christmas is all about.”

The Christmas day dinner will be from 1 to 3 p.m, and it is free and open to everyone in the community.

For more information contact the Presbyterian church at 208-245-2686.

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