Published Saturday, January 05, 2013

Christmas memories linger as a new year begins

By W.WINSTON SKINNER

winston@newnan.com

The Christmas season has passed, but memories of the season linger.

Coweta churches held their usual celebrations of the season – cantatas, plays, dinners, outreach projects. In many churches candles were lighted on an Advent wreath each Sunday in December, and music relating to the coming of Christ was featured in services.

In 2012, the annual celebration of God’s gift of His son was shaded by the loss of 20 children, murdered at their school in Connecticut just 11 days before Christmas.

While preparations for Christmas continued at Southside Baptist Church near Moreland, the horrific events in Connecticut also were incorporated into worship there. “I brought it out in my message and the Sunday School teachers did, also,” Carl Calhoun, pastor of the church, said.

The Christmas-Advent season got its start several weeks before the Dec. 25 observance. Several churches held Hanging of the Greens services – combining music and worship with traditions for decorating with greenery.

Luthersville United Methodist Church held its Hanging of the Greens on the morning of Dec. 2.

Church groups took part in Christmas parades in Newnan, Grantville and Haralson. Members of WellSpring Church donned their WellSpring T-shirts to walk together in the Senoia Christmas Parade, gathering in front of the Senoia Post Office for the event.

A Service of Lessons and Carols was held at Allen-Lee Memorial United Methodist Church in Lone Oak on Dec. 9. Readers were Jeanne Carter, Stuart Crosby, Brian Ferrell, Gail Gordon, Nancy Lee, Lynn Skinner, Monty Strickland and John Strube.

The Allen-Lee Singers sang “He Is Born.” There were two a capella solos – “Mary, Did You Know?” by Jeanne Carter and “Glory Be, Glory Be” by Winston Skinner.

Elizabeth Elliott played “Good King Wenceslas” and “The Little Drummer Boy” as flute solos, and Maelynn Strickland played “Carol of the Bells” as a piano solo. Ann Johnson was the accompanist for the congregational carols.

Emory Chapel United Methodist Church at Dresden presented a musical-drama, “The Greatest Gift of All,” on Dec. 16. Elaine Lee directed the program, and refreshments were served after the play.

Some church groups planned an outing as a way to add to the festive time of year. The Woman’s Missionary Union of Sunnyside Baptist Church traveled to Atlanta to visit the Governor’s Mansion on Dec. 5.

“It was really worth seeing with all the Christmas decorations,” Linda Pike said. “They also have chorus groups from different schools singing and orchestra students also performing.”

Providence Baptist’s children’s department put together a skating trip for the younger set. Pizza was also part of the fun.

Congregations found ways to help others – nearby and far away – during the Yule season. A Lottie Moon Christmas Dinner was held at Heatherhood Baptist Church on Dec. 2. Heatherwood was among many Southern Baptist churches focusing on the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, which funds international mission work, during December.

The sixth annual Children’s Chair-ity Event was held Dec. 6 at the Dolce Conference Center in Peachtree City. The evening event was orchestrated by a group of dedicated volunteers to raise money for the Children’s Village at Christian City, which cares for abandoned and abused children with no other place to go.

Members of Providence Baptist Church on Providence Church Road continued their outreach to the students at Western Elementary School. Volunteers gathered in the church fellowship on the morning of Dec. 10 to make “Christmas cookies for the children in the Good News Club” at Western, according to church secretary Jill Elder. The goal was to bake about 400 cookies.

The season began with putting up Christmas decorations, and it comes to an end with putting away those special items until next Advent. Volunteers gathered at Providence Baptist to put away decorations on Wednesday afternoon.

An “Undecorate the Church” event will be held today at 9 a.m. at Allen-Lee Methodist in Lone Oak.

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