The Rev. Kevan Hitch, pastor of the Valhalla United Methodist Church and member of Bethel’s Board of Directors, offered an invocation that spoke to the inclusive sentiment of the holiday regardless of one’s religion or beliefs.
In addition, Ms. Laura Bradigan, retired, Bethel’s former Vice-President for Advancement and creator of the Tree Lighting event, had been invited to light this year’s tree. She was joined at the podium by Gabriella Markopoulos and together they lit the tree amid “oohs” and “ahhs” as the brilliant colors illuminated the night sky.
Seconds later, Santa was heard arriving in a 1926 Model T Huckster Wooden Wagon decorated with Christmas lights and garland (thanks to car owner Robert Vitetta of Peekskill) and the group sang a rousing rendition of Jingle Bells as he handed out candy canes to the young and old!
Moving indoors, the group continued to sing and make their way to the well-deserved refreshments. Music was provided by Rachel Alexander, a violin instructor in Ossining, who played the holiday classics to perfection.
Over cookies and hot chocolate, members of the community had a chance to meet each other and share their plans for the holiday season. Bethel thanks all those who participated and looks forward to 2015 and Bethel’s 16th Annual Tree Lighting!