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On the Town: A musical celebration of Thanksgiving Eve

  • Pasadena residents Alice Vaughn and son Mark Vaughn surround All Saints Church Verger Ricardo Moreno prior to the Thanksgiving Eve service.
Pasadena residents Alice Vaughn and son Mark Vaughn surround All Saints… (Photo by Ruth Sowby )
November 24, 2012|By Ruth Sowby

Presented for several decades, the Thanksgiving Eve service at All Saints Church attracted about 200 Pasadena residents with a spiritual bent. Rector J. Edwin Bacon Jr. led the service. On Nov. 21 the church's sanctuary was full of candles, flowers and two choirs to end all choirs. Alto Melissa Hayes does triple duty as singer, church member and director of liturgy. She has sung for 13 years in this service. Her favorite hymn of the evening was the Offertory Anthem sung by members of the Canterbury and Coventry Choirs. The anthem was offered right after Holy Communion.

Kudos must be given to Associate Organist-Choirmaster Szymon Grab. Assisting him were Hilda Boulware, Anna Davalos, Rhonda Johnson and Nat Katz.

Pasadena residents were the predominant crowd here. Never having missed the Thanksgiving Eve service for 10 years were early-birds Alice Vaughn and her son Mark Vaughn. Daughters Jennifer Vaughn and Meg Vaughn joined them minutes later. Mom Alice, who has three more children and 14 grandchildren, lives in Pasadena Highlands.

She said several children and their families were coming over the next day for Thanksgiving dinner prepared by the Highlands staff. The popular Alice will be going to several Thanksgiving dinners over the weekend. “And I don't have to cook a single one,” she said.

Son Mark has positive views of All Saints: “The church has such a sense of the community, he said. “No matter where you are on your spiritual journey, there is a place for you here.”

Ricardo Moreno from Los Angeles is the church verger, a sort of master of ceremonies. He was willing to pose with congregation members for a quick photo or two before the service.

Next at All Saints is a Family Advent Service on Dec. 2.


Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House families had a night off on Nov. 18 as Be A Light program participants prepared a “Meals of Love” dinner and cleaned up afterward. This allowed about 100 parents of seriously ill children time to relax and enjoy a meal — minus the dirty dishes to wash. Volunteer staff member Nanci Lee from Temple City helped with the preparations but sat out dinner.

House families often spend all day at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles as their children undergo various procedures. When parents return to the house, they usually have little energy to make dinner.

Among the moms enjoying time off were Eileen Lynch and Selina Khatum. Lynch, who has lived at the house for just over a week, moved in from Mammoth Lakes. Her 19-month-old son, Anam Khan, had undergone reproductive organ surgery for free at the hospital just days ago. But his appetite was back and ready for pumpkin pie.

Khatum and 4-year-old daughter Maya Khatum arrived at the house in early November from Bangladesh. Maya underwent surgery at Children's Hospital to correct her cleft palate. In January, just before going home, Maya will also have surgery to correct a defective eye socket. Her surgeries are also free. The organization's “Mend-a-Kid” financially supports families at the house.

Locally, the Pasadena Ronald McDonald House has served more than 7,000 critically ill children and their families. As at the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House, families have a place to stay while their children undergo the hospital surgeries to make them well.

RUTH SOWBY may be reached at

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