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Church tour rolls along Saturday

More than 20 years ago, Lawrence County Historical Society member Luanne Blagg came up with an idea to both showcase some of the city’s historic houses of worship and celebrate the Christmas season.

Her idea: A candlelight walk among the churches with history and part of the Christmas story told at each stop. Saturday, the tradition continues.

The Candlelight Christmas Tour of Churches will begin at 5 p.m. at First Baptist Church and end roughly two and a half hours later at the Lawrence County Historical Musuem.

Co-organizer Debbie Rogers said this year’s event is dedicated in memory of Blagg, who died earlier this year.

Members at each of the eight churches present a 10-minute program that includes music, a brief history of the church and reflections on Christmas beginning with Old Testament prophecy that preceded the birth of Christ and ending with his birth in Bethlehem some 2,000 years ago.

“This is something you can bring the family to and for many families it is a tradition,” co-organizer Sharon Bradshaw said. “It’s a nice family event.”

First Baptist is at Fifth and Vernon streets. From there, worshippers will continue to Christ Episcopal at Fifth Street and Park Avenue, First United Methodist at Fifth and Center streets, First Presbyterian at Fifth and Railroad streets, St Paul Lutheran at Sixth and Center streets, St. Lawrence O’Toole Catholic, also at Sixth and Center streets, Gateway Baptist at 312 S. Sixth St. and Quinn Chapel African Methodist Episcopal at Eighth and Adams streets. The museum is at 506 S. Sixth St. Historical society members will lead the way carrying candles; candles will light the path from church to church. Along the way members of the Ohio University Southern Activity band will play musical selections.

“We’re lucky,” Rogers noted. “A lot of towns do not have churches in close enough proximity to be able to do this.”

Anywhere from 60-120 people make the tour each year, depending on the weather. According to the National Weather Service Office in Charleston, W.Va., the forecast for Saturday is partly sunny skies with a high near 36 degrees during the day and partly cloudy skies with a low near 27 degrees Saturday night.