LAURINBURG — Several Scotland County churches from Gibson to Wagram were alight with Christmas bulbs and a spirit of brotherhood on Tuesday night as they welcomed visitors for the Laurinburg Junior Service League’s Christmas tour.
“We think of the number of Christmases that we have had here, not only as members of our own families, but as a church family, because every person that comes here is a member of your family, especially at this time of year,” said Old Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church elder Jim McMillan. “We walk in here and this is our second home.”
The 33rd annual tour, which serves as a fundraiser for the league, was the second to feature primarily churches, with St. John United Methodist Church, Springfield Church of God, Spring Hill Baptist Church, and Montpelier Presbyterian Church joining Old Laurel Hill in opening their doors.
“We’re living in a fast world and that takes away from the Christmas spirit — people need to slow down,” said Barbara Fore as she toured the sanctuary of Old Laurel Hill. “Things like this make your heart feel warm and feel the love of God. Everything’s been beautiful, but I especially enjoyed St. John’s Christmas decorations because we have those in my church and it adds a special meaning to it.”
Outside the door of Old Laurel Hill, the church’s choir could be heard regaling visitors with renditions of “Joy to the World” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”
“The choir out at Old Laurel Hill was neat; the music’s been good everywhere, but it was really neat to have that choir singing,” said Betty Barrett.
Brady’s Flowers served as the one downtown tour stop, providing snacks and sales on holiday gifts to anyone holding a tour ticket.
Tour members had the opportunity to take home an edible souvenir or two with dishes like cranberry relish, chili, cookies, apple pie, and ham and hash brown casserole for sale, all prepared by junior service league members. Proceeds from the tour are directed to a number of Scotland County nonprofits as well as scholarships for Scotland High School students.
“We worked the tour for years and we were at the one house where we were supposed to work, so it’s been nice to go around and look at everything,” said former junior league member Hope Clark. “It takes a lot of time and effort for the homeowners and the church members.”