from the Mt Barker Courier
by Elisa Rose
It's a season usually marked by family, friends and community. But for those who don't have loved ones nearby, Christmas can instead be a time of heightened loneliness. That's why the Mt Barker Anglican Parish is putting on its second annual Christmas community dinner.
Started last year - partly as a way to support the community in the aftermath of the Cuddlee Creek fire - Father Thomas Karamakuzhiyil said the dinner would bring together members of the community in a way that sometimes had lasting impacts.
"Anyone who's lonely, anyone who has no place to go - it's open to anyone who wants to come and join us," he said.
"It's about the community coming together more than anything else... people who just want to be with somebody else and not sit alone and have Christmas dinner - they can come here and share that friendship and fellowship."
The church has long been involved with the Mt Barker Uniting Church's Hungry No More program, which provides free weekly meals for the community, and parish member Margie Philpott said the Christmas event would offer a "real Christmas dinner with all the trimmings".
The dinner is funded by a $1000 "gift" from the Mt Barker Council and Mayor Ann Ferguson said it would ensure the community was cared for, especially after the isolation inflicted by Covid-19.
"It's a gift to the church to provide for the community," she said.
"It gives people hope and something to look forward to - knowing that somebody does care."
The dinner will be held at the Anglican Church Parish Hall on Hutchinson Street in Mt Barker, on Christmas day at 5.30pm for a 6pm dinner.
Registrations for the dinner can be made by calling Fr Thomas on 0473 327 186 or Margie Philpott on 0437 738 069.
Mt Barker Anglican Parish member Margie Philpott, left, Mt Barker Mayor Ann Ferguson and Parish priest Father Thomas Karamakuzhiyil want to invite the community to a free Christmas dinner on December 25.