Romberg decks out church lobbyPublished 12:19pm Thursday, November 21, 2013
Mary Ann Romberg lives in a small house with her husband, Loren, both retired schoolteachers. Since retiring, Mary Ann has become passionate about decorating, but her house isn’t quite big enough for all the projects she thinks up.
But a few times a year, CrossRoads Church provides the space Romberg needs for these projects.
Romberg has worked as the church’s decorator for the last four years, setting up Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter displays. This year’s two Thanksgiving displays, one in the foyer and the other in the sanctuary, have been up since mid-October. The display has gotten rave reviews from CrossRoads congregation members, according to Romberg.
“It’s just been phenomenal this year,” she said of people’s response.
Unlike the church’s Christmas display, which Romberg said between 15 and 18 people volunteer to help set up, the Thanksgiving display was all the work of Romberg and her husband. They ordered the letters used in the display, grew the heirloom pumpkins and squashes and even chopped the lumber that props up part of the display in the foyer.
Romberg, who has been a member of CrossRoads for five years, always has her eyes open for items to use in her decorating, even carrying a notebook around with her at all times to jot down ideas that come to her. She loves to be outdoors and often finds sticks or leaves that become part of one of her displays.
Since beginning her work at the church, the displays have gotten bigger and bigger. Romberg is extremely proud of this year’s Thanksgiving displays, but even more than the displays themselves, she is glad they have given people the opportunity to stop and think about what is important in life.
“Fall is absolutely my favorite time to decorate,” Romberg said. “I’ve heard from people that they like having the message right there.”
Because there is no Thanksgiving service at CrossRoads this year, the Thanksgiving displays will be taken down Sunday. In their place, Romberg and a crew of volunteers soon will put up the Christmas decorations, which she said should only take a few hours thanks to all the hands on site.
Romberg is never finished thinking up new ideas. Next year, she has some plans for spring decorations that would be on display even after Easter. Her Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas displays will surely continue to grow each year as well.
But the decorations are not just fun projects to Romberg: it is also her way of giving back to the church.
To Rev. Ned Eerdmans, head pastor at CrossRoads, the Rombergs play a large part in creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere at the church that he thinks is vital to people’s comfort.
“Not only is it pretty, but it has a message,” Eerdmans said of the Thanksgiving display. “They really want this to communicate God’s love and God’s presence.”