Annual Christmas walk draws faithful

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 3, 2007

With her umpteenth number of taffeta petticoats rustling as she glided down the sidewalks, Lady Deborah, one of the guides for the night, led the way for the modern-day pilgrims taking in this season’s Candlelight Christmas Tour Saturday evening.

As they entered First Baptist, the first church on the walking tour, visitors were greeted with the strains of carols on a harp. Four Christmas trees below the chancel steps glistened with strings upon strings of gold lights.

Dennis Strawn, pastor of the church, began the 10-minute service by telling the congregation that this church dates back to 1814, although the present house of worship was built in 1959.

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Then, after a solo by Bob Sutton, he read from the prophecy of Christ from the Book of Isaiah.

Earlier Strawn had talked about why his church joins in the annual tour sponsored by the Lawrence County Historical Society.

“I think it is a wonderful opportunity for the community to gather together,” he said. “I kind of look at it as a faith walk. People get to see all the different sanctuaries and a little feel for the unique congregation.”

Leaving First Baptist to go on to the next stop as the OUS band serenaded was Rita Ferguson of Ironton, out on her first walk.

“I was just curious,” she said. “We do the historical society’s Ghost Walk and just wanted to check this out.”

Next stop was Christ Episcopal Church where Brother Richard Walton talked about the church’s role in medieval society.

“You had to attend church at least 12 times a year or you were called into court,” he said.

Then, the congregation joined in singing the advent hymn, “O Come, Emmanuel.”

First United Methodist was the next as the Rev. Wayne Young talked about John the Baptist and read from the Book of Matthew.

This was the seventh church walk for Young who took over the leadership of the church in 2001.

“I think it is a tremendous way for people to get into the appropriate mood for Christmas,” he said before the walk. “It comes early in the month and allows people to hear the Christmas message and the music. With all the preparation that has to be done, it is easy to lose sight of the message. But with the church walk early in the month and hearing the story of Christ and seeing the beautiful churches, it is a way to emphasis the real message of Christmas.”

There were eight churches on the evening tour with a reception at the Lawrence County Historical Society museum following the last stop, which was at Quinn Chapel A.M. E.

This year holiday music dictated the decorations of each room at the museum, from a Christmas tree in Wedgwood blue for “It’ll Be a Blue Christmas,” to tree swathed in snow ornaments

for the Irving Berlin classic, “White Christmas.”

“This is like a trip back in time,” said Barbara Gillispie of South Point.