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Churches spread love in the SCV

Local churches spread love on Valentine’s Day by sharing new and old traditions with the community

Posted: February 8, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 8, 2014 2:00 a.m.

A small group of women from St. Stephen's Episcopal Church decided to spread God's love and Valentine's Day cheer to the residents of Canterbury Village Senior Center by creating more than 130 handmade cards for residents and church members.

Next Friday, thousands of Santa Clarita area students and residents will give and receive Valentine’s. Many exchange small gifts, flowers or rosy colored cards.

With that in mind, Kimberly Bridgeford, member of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, thought about the many people who wouldn’t receive a Valentine. So she pitched the idea of sending handmade Valentine’s Day cards to the residents of Canterbury Village, a local senior community.

“We had one parishioner tell us she hadn’t received a Valentine since she was in school, she’s now 70,” said Bridgeford. “Everyone needs to feel loved and thought of.”

Over the last few weeks three church members began hand crafting more than 130 Valentine’s Day cards. Each card is carefully made, every card different and unique.

“We are hoping to put a smile on some folks face that may not get a Valentine otherwise,” said Rev. Kelly O’Connell.

The team, inspired by kindness and love, decided to make cards for the Canterbury residents. They also compiled a list of church members who might be alone, are shut-in’s, may not have family nearby or may be newcomers to the church who they would also send cards to.

Bridgeford worked with Rosa Holdredge and Wendy Rickman to hand craft each and every card. They also made bookmarks for every recipient and decorated the envelopes as well.

“Every card is made with love,” Bridgeford said.

“This is a nice way for people to feel special, loved and remembered,” said Rosa Holdredge. “It’s also a nice way to say God loves you and you are a part of something that is bigger than yourself, whether you are connected to a church or not.”

Dancing the night away

Another local church plans to spread Valentine’s Day love in a different way, with a younger crowd.

For as long as Katie Vogel, can remember, she has kept a special Valentine’s tradition. Every year, she attends the annual Valentine’s Day Dance at Christ Lutheran Church. Now 24 years old, she has attended since she was 8 or 9 years old.

This is the church’s 18th annual dance party which began as a small gathering at Kathleen Kahovec’s home, the church’s youth director.

Initially attended by 30 children, more than 180 kids and young adults attended last year’s annual event which was moved to the church’s social hall to accommodate the crowd. Parents are encouraged to drop off their children for the 3-hour party.

Many attendees, like Vogel, began going when they were much younger. Now, as young adults, they continue to attend as part of their Valentine’s tradition.

“This is a different atmosphere than the secular school dance,” said Kahovec. “It is a more comfortable atmosphere. No pressure.”

The dance is open to the community. Church members often invite friends and neighbors to attend. Many attendees love the dance games, like limbo or a favorite among guests, the dance paddle game.

Bridget Gabriel, a Junior at Saugus High School, said she has more fun at this dance then the typical school dances.

“It’s not as cliquish,” she said. “We know we all have something in common, our faith.”

Attendees dress up, sporting pink and red, and find a safe place to have fun and dance with other kids and young adults.

“Valentine’s Day is not just for romantic relationships, but a celebration of love,” said Vogel. “It’s good to recognize I have a whole bunch of people I am blessed and happy to have in my life.”



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