'Christmas in the Parking Lot' catches flight in Colorado Springs

December 31, 2019
Christmas in the Parking Lot 2019
A powerful day of celebration and giving as The Edge, Ecumenical Social Ministries, and First United Methodist Church in Colorado Springs bring gifts to those that may not otherwise receive them on Christmas Morning.
Story by Rev. Tiffany Keith
Congregational Resource Minister, Peaks/Pikes Peak District
Mountain Sky Conference

In 2015, a couple of us from The Edge in Colorado Springs celebrated Christmas together by driving to Denver to check out "Christmas in the Park," organized by After Hours Denver. That day we watched as hundreds of people gathered up new items to hand out on Christmas Day. Together we served communion, handed out socks, hand warmers, gloves, diapers, bottles of water, feminine products, so many things that I've never thought of before. Items I don't think about because they are so accessible to me. The beauty of that cold, wintery day stuck with us and burrowed its way into our hearts.

The Edge, Ecumenical Social Ministries, and First United Methodist Church in Colorado Springs then joined forces to create our own Christmas in the Park in Colorado Springs. Unfortunately, the downtown parks in Colorado Springs were closed to us because the city was afraid of the trash that would be scattered throughout downtown. So, we took a step back and thought this through. It made more sense to just use the resources we did have available to us. So, "Christmas in the Parking Lot" was born! Guest of Christmas in the Parking Lot 2019

This year over 200 people received items from underwear to coats from over 150 volunteers. As always, it was an hour of chaos and absolute joy. My favorite moment was when I turned to ask a member of The Edge, Sarah, to serve communion for me so I could take pictures. Well, that wasn't my favorite moment. My favorite moment was when the event was winding down, the parking lot was almost clean, and I asked her about her favorite moment. She turned to me, with tears in her eyes, told me it was serving communion.  

That is the beauty of this, our new Christmas tradition. We get to "hand out" favorite Christmas moments. From the choirs that form, to new underwear, coats, and sleeping bags, to loving Christ by sharing in the sacrament of Holy Communion together.

If you are interested in finding out more or donating to Christmas in the Parking Lot 2020 please visit citpl.org or by visiting our Facebook page. If you are in the Denver area, please consider connecting with After Hours Denver at afterhoursdenver.org.

Reverends - From right, Tiffany Keith, Tezenlo Thong