Next week, the Laurinburg Junior Service League will put Christmas back into church for its 32nd annual holiday tour.
For three decades, the tour has showcased homes throughout Scotland County cleaned to perfection and decorated to the hilt for Christmas. Rather than houses, this year’s tour, to be held Tuesday from 6-9 p.m., will feature 10 Laurinburg churches.
“We’ve done houses and a church in the past, but this is the first time with straight churches,” said tour chairman Brooke Stone. “We were going to do a few, and then some churches started to ask us to be on the tour.”
Tourists can visit any or all of the following churches during the tour: Caledonia United Methodist Church, East Laurinburg Church of God, Faith Presbyterian Church, First Baptist Church, First United Methodist Church, Laurinburg Presbyterian Church, Multitudes Church, Stewartsville Baptist Church, St. Luke United Methodist Church, and St. Mary Catholic Church.
Although all of the churches are located in Laurinburg, to save participants travel time between attractions, each church’s Christmas decorations will reflect its own unique spirit and traditions.
Caledonia United Methodist Church members finished decorating the church sanctuary this week, with live wreaths and other decorations to go up in the fellowship hall prior to the tour. The centerpiece of Caledonia’s decorations will be its Chrismon tree, decorated by the church’s youngest members.
“We get the tree ready, and then the kids come and put the Chrismons on the tree,” said Ann Jones of Caledonia. “Those are special ornaments.”
Otherwise like an ordinary Christmas tree, each ornament on Caledonia’s Chrismon tree is symbolic of the life of Jesus Christ.
“They each have a different meaning - the star, the camel, the doves,” said Terry McCallum. “We’ll finish up on Saturday and it’ll be beautiful on Sunday.”
Caledonia’s other decorations will include Advent wreaths and a manger scene.
“It’s beautiful, and it’s a lot of work, but it really is special to us,” Jones said.
Music will enhance the festive atmosphere at each church, with church choirs, pianists, and soloists performing throughout the tour. At some of the churches, refreshments will also be provided.
The address of each church is printed on the ticket, and visitors can travel to each church in any order. Tickets are $10 per person, and are available at Harley’s Tuxedo, Art by Design, Holmes Insurance, Dazzling Divas, ShirtTales, Brady’s Flowers, and Brenda’s Florist.
“The churches are very excited - it seems that people are very interested and excited about it this year,” Stone said. “It’s going to be a fun night of decorations and entertainment in a different environment than just the homes. I’ve had people tell me that they thoroughly enjoy going out with their friends and going from place to place.”
The junior service league Holiday Kitchen can be found during the tour at First United Methodist Church. Baked goods from individual cookies and candies to pies, cakes, and meat and vegetable casseroles will be on sale along with soups, hot chocolate, apple butter, and other food items.
Proceeds from the tour and the Holiday Kitchen will be forwarded to several local nonprofit organizations, including Church Community Services, the Rape Crisis and Domestic Violence Center, the Scotland County Literacy Council, as well as supporting scholarships and Eagle Scout projects for community youth.