• 37°

Tour starts season

THE TRIBUNE/JESSICA ST JAMES Visitors gather inside the St. Lawrence O’Toole Church during the annual Candlelight Christmas Tour Saturday in Ironton.

THE TRIBUNE/JESSICA ST JAMES
Visitors gather inside the St. Lawrence O’Toole Church during the annual Candlelight Christmas Tour Saturday in Ironton.

The cold and dampness that came on the first Saturday evening in December dissipated in the warmth of the welcome from the eight churches on the annual Candlelight Church Walk.

The walk, sponsored by the Lawrence County Historical Society, is one of the Christmas traditions of Ironton that marks the beginning of the holiday season.

First church on the walk was, as always, First Baptist of Ironton, where worship leader Benjamin Smith played “What Child Is This?” on acoustic guitar as visitors filed in. Then new pastor Eric Barnes greeted the walkers at the church that will mark its 200th year as a congregation in 2014.

“We have been 200 years of celebration of the ministry in this area, what God has done in the community,” Barnes said. “We are a church that believes in the glorifying God in our lives and advancing the cause of Jesus Christ, not only here but internationally.”

Next was Christ Episcopal Church with Sandra Kidd detailing the upcoming 160th anniversary of the congregation.

Kidd praised the spiritual fortitude of the original parishioners.

“The founders were solid and active members of Ironton,” she said.

She then discussed the meaning of Advent, the church season before Christmas.

“It is a time for preparation and waiting for the coming of Christ as the light of the world,” Kidd said, “And it opens a space where God can speak to us.”

Dr. Wayne Young, pastor of First United Methodist Church, noted banners in the sanctuary of his church in purple, the color for advent.

“It is awaiting the coming of the Christ child and the awaiting of his second coming as King and Lord and Judge of the universe,” Young said.

As members of the historical society guided walkers throughout the downtown, musicians from Rock Hill High School filled the air with seasonal favorites.

At St. Paul Lutheran the Rock Hill show choir performed a variety of traditional carols and modern Christmas songs.

Following visits to Gateway Baptist, once known as the Congregational Church that was the place of worship for many of the iron masters, and Quinn Chapel, visitors went onto a reception at the Lawrence County Museum.