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A couple of weeks ago the elves were hard at work on a Saturday morning decorating St. Peter’s United Methodist Church for the Christmas season. I caught up with Terry Lothian, Paul Ostein, Gene Lindacher and Phil Young hanging wreaths on the front doors of the sanctuary on this warm, sunny morning.
When I entered the sanctuary, I spotted Jody Lovett handing large lighted wreaths with red bows to Don Paul perched high on an extension ladder on the chancel. Bill Bateson was on hand to give his expert instructions on decorating, but was banned from climbing or even coming near the ladder. Ginny Strang, Andrea Paul, Della Ostein and Madaline Kohler fluffed wreaths and bows before handing them over to Dave Wagner to hang in the sanctuary. Mary Beth Salmonson brought daughter Molly to help with the decorating. Molly is enjoying her freshman year at Ocean City High School where she was manager of the freshman field hockey team and hopes to get a part in the school play this spring. It was all business for the United Methodist Women who were holding their monthly executive board meeting conducted by President Nancy Caine. Treasurer Andrea Mastro and circle leaders Carol DeMill, Phoebe Lindacher, Sue Brastow, Peg Lippincott, Shirley Deming and Annette Dungan were discussing upcoming fundraisers like the Christmas cookie walk and spring luncheon and fashion show.
Meanwhile, out in the Stainton Room, praise band leader Jeff Turner, along with Leslie Clarke and Judy Kelly were rehearsing for the upcoming production of “A Christian Carol,” written by Grant Karsner, which will be performed at St. Peter’s on Dec. 23.
I enjoyed meeting Gail and Dennis Faust, who divides their time between Shenksville, Pa. and Ocean City. Jeff Turner grew up in New York and lived in Ocean City for 10 years when his children attended OCHS. Jeff now lives in Mays Landing. Rody O’Rourke is a new member of this group and is delighted to be attending St. Peter’s. After 25 years as curator at the Accent Gallery, Rody has changed careers and is Chris Oliva’s assistant at ReMax at the Shore. Rody reports daughter Caroline is enjoying her freshman year at Rutgers. Rich Barlow, who handles the sound system for the praise band, showed up after I took the group’s picture. Robie McKinnon reported the Christmas dinner Sunday night was sold out. Ann Landolfi and Mary Mohr got to work putting candles in the stained glass windows when they arrived. Brian Roberts took a break from putting the finishing touches on his Sunday sermon to check out the decorating progress and ended up wrapped in garland.
Saturday afternoon the Garden Room at The Flanders was filled with excited children as they gathered around tables to create gingerbread houses with brightly colored gum drops, white marshmallows, pretzel sticks and other colorful goodies. Jennifer Bowman headed up this fundraiser with all proceeds to benefit OCNJ CARE to assist with the Hurricane Sandy cleanup. Jane Rodriguez lent Jennifer a hand with the project. Jane’s father, Leo Scheuermann, purchased Dot’s Bakery in 1982 and Jane took over in 1998. Dot’s was severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy, but Jane hopes to have it up and running by summer. Flanders banquet manager Karen Bergman stopped by to see if Jennifer needed anything before she headed upstairs to put the finishing touches on the Crystal Ballroom for a 5:30 wedding reception. Jacqueline and Scott McAlister enjoyed helping daughters Sarah and Katie make their gingerbread houses. Jacqueline, who was recently elected to the Ocean City school board, told me she and her husband are teachers in EHT. They met when both started teaching together in September 2001 and the rest is history. I spotted Anne Sloan from The Flanders helping Jennifer Bowman put gingerbread houses together with icing as more children arrived. Bob Pelli and crew set up more tables and chairs in the Garden Room. Sarah McDowell brought her daughters, Hannah and Brielle, along with their friend, Brynn Bowman. I chatted with Donna Heap while she helped her children, Olivia and David, decorate their houses. After Donna Oves got her children settled in along with their cousin, Daniel Oves, she took a break to visit with Heather DeCosta and Jackie Leeds, senior library assistant at the Ocean City Library. Donna told how much she enjoyed the lip sync night at the Intermediate School Friday where her son, AJ, along with his friends, Michael Pinto and Mitchell Bartello, performed “Gangnam Style.”
When I admired 6-year-old Mimi McCusker’s outfit her mom, Jennifer, told me she got it at C.W. Kids. Mimi wore a bright green dress accented with big red and white candy canes on the front. Her red and white striped stockings made this an over-the-top look. Mimi enjoyed making her gingerbread house along with her 9-year-old brother, Jackson. Linda Smith kept replenishing the bowls with goodies for the gingerbread houses and even condo President Peter Voudouris stopped by to check out the festivities.
Steve Dyjak socialized while wife Beth helped son Ethan with his gingerbread house. I enjoyed chatting with Dale Braun, who sat back and watched his daughter, Emily, make her house. Ethan and Emily are both in Nancy Caine’s class at the primary school and have been friends since the Braun’s moved to Ocean City 20 months ago. Now that Dale has retired from being a bank comptroller, he is enjoying being a stay-at-home dad for Emily while his wife, Brenda, continues to work at Shore Medical Center. Steve and Dale joked about their children’s gingerbread houses being built up to code. Megan Gray was also at this table with her daughter, Margaux.
Santa made an entrance into the Garden Room and the children were delighted to pose for pictures with this jolly gent holding their gingerbread houses. Gazette editor Claire Lowe took lots of pictures to put on oc.shorenewstoday.com online. It was obvious Katie and Kelsea Bowman have been making gingerbread houses for years as their creations were a couple of the best I saw and older sister Caroline told me she loves to bake just like her mother. I stopped to chat with Lori Carlin as we watched her daughter, Schuy, work on her gingerbread house. Jennifer Bowman invited anyone who so desired to enter their gingerbread houses in The Flanders contest by putting their creations on display in the lobby. Then this columnist said goodbye and headed up to the boardwalk to shop at Mia’s Christmas Gallery.