Templeton Presbyterian Church hosts community tree lighting in Templeton Park

TEMPLETON — A new tradition has been planted in Templeton Park. In October, the Templeton Presbyterian Church planted a 30-foot redwood in Templeton Park and on Sunday, Dec. 3, it was the fixture of Templeton’s tree lighting ceremony.

“Ultimately, we want it to be a light for the whole community for people to have joy, for people to have excitement, and for all walks of life to celebrate and embrace what the season is all about,” said Templeton Presbyterian Church Pastor Roger Patton.

A Tennessean native, Patton moved to Templeton with his family a few years ago. While getting to know his new community, he felt that a new tradition was needed in Templeton for Christmas.


“I just have always loved Christmas,” he said. “I’m a big kid at heart and I love the tradition … I was just like what can we do as a church to spark something in this community.”

In the first two years, the church brought in temporary cut trees first at the church and in the second year it was brought into the park with an official lighting ceremony. That inaugural year welcomed hundreds to witness the lighting. Patton thanks the community for jumping into the next step by bringing a permanent tree to the park, including Derek Luff and Neil Roberts.

This planting was organized by the fellowship and outreach ministry of the Templeton Presbyterian Church with the support of Will Wilkerson from the San Luis Obispo County Parks and Recreation. The tree was found and planted by Whit Curtis of Whit’s-Turn Tree Care, and the heavy lift planting was done by Randall Clag and his tree truck.

The Templeton Presbyterian Church was one of the first churches built in Templeton. According to the Templeton Historical Museum, “The first church was the First Presbyterian Church, chartered on May 5, 1887. The original building, located on the corner of Sixth and Crocker streets, was dedicated on Nov. 11, 1888.”

The tree lighting occurred on Sunday, Dec. 3, and was welcomed with a full crowd and singing carols. The Templeton Fire Department brought in Santa Claus for the children and of course, there was hot chocolate to complete the festive night.

On Saturday, Dec. 16, the Templeton Presbyterian Church will be relocating its annual live nativity scene to the newly planted tree in Templeton Park. This year for one night only, the 16th Annual Living Nativity will begin in the park at 7 p.m. complete with music, animals, and characters. Cookies and cocoa will also be available in the chapel.

“Now we’ve got that permanent tree that we can trim and shape and grow and it can be a fixture in the community for years to come,” said Patton, who explained the Christian meaning behind the Christmas tree as an evergreen symbol of “everlasting and new life that comes through Jesus Christ.” 

Patton also notes that the activities surrounding the tree lighting are welcoming to the entire community. Next year they hope to bring permanent power to the tree as it will remain a fixture in the park.

Feature Image: Avelyn Walla, 7, holds a candle at the Templeton Tree Lighting on Sunday, Dec. 3. In October, the Templeton Presbyterian Church planted a 30-foot redwood in Templeton Park. Photo by Val Walla