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‘A feeling of belonging’: SCC Christmas dinner celebrates community with dinner, live music

By Staff | Dec 27, 2019

Community members fill their plates with food, during the SCC Christmas dinner in the War Memorial Building on Dec. 17. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — “The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing others’ loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas,” wrote W.C. Jones about the spirit of Christmas. And for the Shepherdstown Community Club, that spirit of community at Christmas time could be seen on Dec. 17, as the club’s members and community residents joined together to celebrate Christmas together in the War Memorial Building.

The dinner featured a vegetarian meal catered by Carol Sanders, bar and live Christmas music by new SCC board member Russell Gann. Although this was the first event Gann has sung for in Shepherdstown, he said it wouldn’t be the last.

“I’m the lead singer in a band in the D.C. area,” Gann said, mentioning he and his family joined the SCC in September. “I think it’s great that we can have this way to be involved in our community. I think it’s excellent.”

While the club has gone through some upheaval over the last couple of months, due to some budgetary issues, President Jennifer Wabnitz said the club is now confident that its future is secure — along with the futures of the two historical properties it cares for, Morgan’s Grove Park and the War Memorial Building.

“It’s coming together so beautifully. After those first two difficult weeks, people have come forward and said they would help with this and would help with that,” Wabnitz said, mentioning the SCC board has decided the combined efforts of community members will be enough to keep the park open.

New SCC board member Russell Gann sings "Blue Christmas" to SCC member Rick Taylor, during the community Christmas dinner in the War Memorial Building on Dec. 17. Tabitha Johnston

While the War Memorial Building is often rented out, thereby raising funds to maintain it, the park’s facilities are not rented out enough to afford a maintenance staff, since Jefferson County Parks and Recreation stopped caring for the park on Nov. 1. But Wabnitz said that, with community members caring for the park and some improvements potentially happening in its near future, such as a paid membership dog park where the park previously had a baseball field, the park will not have to be closed, as was suggested by in the club’s annual meeting last month.

Thanks to that good news, the club and community members at the dinner had many reasons to celebrate.

“This gives us a feeling of belonging. When this club was created, most of the businesses in town were owned by the families that lived on the floors above them, and those families would come to the Shepherdstown Men’s Club to socialize. This event keeps that intent of sharing and community alive,” said SCC member Mike Austin, referring to the SCC’s original name. “American society is quite a mixture of so many backgrounds, and this Christmas dinner represents that.”

Community members make their way to their seats, to enjoy a catered Christmas dinner together in the War Memorial Building on Dec. 17. Tabitha Johnston

The Shepherdstown Community Club enjoyed a catered meal, featuring this Apricot Cranberry Amaretto Tart for dessert. Tabitha Johnston