Rural Missouri - December 2011 - (Page 18)

Above: Tamie Pieper lights the candles at Zion United Methodist Church near Old Appleton. This church features a blessing tree. Visitors share blessings or ask for prayers by writing on ornaments that are hung on the tree. Right: The congregation at Peace Lutheran Church in Friedenberg disbanded in 1980, but the historic church comes to life during the holidays. Below: Bonnie Smith offers handmade ornaments to visitors at First Baptist Church in Oak Ridge. Gifts given to visitors are reminders that Jesus was God’s gift to all. by Jim McCarty jmccarty@ruralmissouri.coop The altar at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Apple Creek glows with the lights of candles and C Historic churches roll out the we he first Christmas trees show up in the stores in September. Radio stations start playing carols before Halloween. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, frantic shoppers fight for bargains, adding to the credit card debt that wasn’t paid off the year before. These days it can be hard to find any Christmas spirit. But a group of southeast Missourians wants to help. From 3 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 15-16, they will roll out the welcome mat at two dozen rural churches located between Perryville and Cape Girardeau during the Christmas Country Church Tour. The free tour started six years ago when members of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Apple Creek were intrigued by Perryville’s historic home tour. Country Ch brick. It makes for a delightful evening for all to visit. “Many people tell us this helps get them in the Christmas spirit,” Janet says. “Christmas has become so commercial, but not here. On the Christmas Country Church Tour, it’s all about the joy of Christ’s coming.” On these two days in December, people of many faiths are united in purpose as they work to spread the joy of the Christmas season. The tour can be taken in any order, with maps of all locations available at each stop. The idea is to slow down, appreciate the scenery and explore the rich Christmas traditions still practiced by the descendants of German settlers. “Hundreds of people come by and tour the churches,” says Mary Jane. “They are just awed by it. The churches are lavishly decorated, because the German people around here just love Chris T Mary Jane Buchheit discussed the idea of opening the historic church to tours with the parish priest. “He said, ‘Fine, call the neighbors across the highway, Zion Lutheran, and see if they want to join us,’” Mary Jane recalls. “They said, ‘Sure, we’d be happy to.’ The first year, we had six churches on the tour. Every year it increased. The last few years, we’ve had about 24 on the tour.” The churches, most served by Citizens Electric, are of many denominations. They have two things in common, says Janet Fiedler, a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells and one of the tour organizers. “The thing that makes this so much fun is all of the churches are over 100 years old and all are small,” she says. “They are in small towns and they are in no towns. They are beautiful wood framed and stately stone and 18 WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - December 2011

Rural Missouri - December 2011
Table of COntents
Comments
Columns
Giggin’ on the Gasconade
A historic rumbling
Outdoors
Bent on perfection
Out of the Way Eats
Christmas country church tour
Hearth and Home
News Briefs
Of two governments
Best of rural Missouri
Marketplace
Around Missouri
Neighbors
Just4Kids

Rural Missouri - December 2011

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