Church Walk features holiday music, history

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Dec. 4, 2017 8:25 am

LOUISIANA, Mo. -- The free 24th annual Louisiana Mid-Town Church Walk, sponsored by the Louisiana Area Historical Museum, will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10.

Six churches are part of the Church Walk, led this year by museum board member Dorothy Webb. The event attracts about 100 people each year, many from outside of the Louisiana community.

"We are fortunate to have so many churches within four blocks of each other," museum board president Judy Schmidt said. "They are unique in architecture and have beautiful stained glass windows. This walk is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon."

Organizers hope people will notice the structural and interior differences of each building and look forward to hearing the histories of them. Musical performances lasting 15 minutes will be performed at each church during the walk.

The first stop is Bethel A.M.E., constructed in 1883. The church, located at 202 N. Sixth, is on the National Register of Historic Places. It features sashes in the 12 arched windows, which are original to the building. The church choir will perform.

At the next stop, 517 S. Carolina, the First Christian Church choir will sing Christmas songs. Visitors will notice a large wooden cross that hung over the altar before the church burned in 1994. It, as well as a metal cross, which topped the steeple, were saved from the fire. The metal cross sits atop the current steeple. At the entryway is a bell that also was salvaged from the fire.

The First Baptist Church at the corner of Seventh and South Carolina streets is the third stop, and a variety of musical performances will be performed. This building was restored in 1974 following a fire. Many improvements have been made to the church throughout the years, including the current project to restore the building's stained glass windows.

The fourth stop, Centenary United Methodist Church, 691 S. Carolina, is directly across from First Baptist Church. Centenary United Methodist has been housed in various buildings around town, but its current building was established in 1887. The church handbell choir will perform.

At Calvary Episcopal Church, 704 Georgia, Martha Weston and Dennis Babbitt will provide guests with vocal performances. The Episcopal Church was organized into a congregation in 1853. Church members originally built a wooden-framed church at the corner of Fifth and Virginia streets, but in 1878 they purchased the property on Georgia Street and moved the wooden structure on rollers to its present location.

Concluding the Church Walk will be group singing of carols and hymns at the First Presbyterian Church, 121 S. Eighth. The church was dedicated in 1891, and its stained-glass windows are original to the building.

After the event ends around 4:55 p.m., participants are invited to a soup supper in the lower level of First Presbyterian Church. Homemade ham and bean, chili and vegetable beef soups will be served as well as desserts. Donations for the meal will benefit the Louisiana Area Historical Museum.