Christmas can be a hectic time of year. From decorating to shopping for gifts to attending events, the holiday is often a flurry of events and tasks to accomplish.
That’s why it’s important to take time to actually enjoy the holiday.
One way to do that is to take part in Friday’s historic churches tour.
The first-ever Farmington Christmas Community Church Tour is Friday from 2-7 p.m. The self-guided tour is free and is an open-house type event where guests can visit any of the churches at any time during that five-hour period.
Churches on the self-guided tour include the Farmington Presbyterian Church, 403 W. Columbia; First Baptist Church of Farmington, 210 N. A St.; Farmington Christian Church, 201 W. Columbia; First Free Will Baptist Church, 305 W. Columbia (use Clay Street entrance); St. Paul Lutheran, 609 E. Columbia (use South Carlton Street entrance); and Memorial United Methodist Church, 425 North St. (use entrance facing Karsch Boulevard).
A committee consisting of Farmington residents and business owners including Candy Hente, Chris Landrum, Becky Panchot, Joan Hurst and Laura McLean created the event, modeled after Perryville’s successful annual churches tour.
“We have beautiful churches in Farmington,” said Farmington resident Chris Landrum, “and we thought it would be nice to share their decorated sanctuaries with the community.”
She said the six historic churches on the tour will be decorated for Christmas. Some will have music while others will offer refreshments.
“Visitors are invited to stay for as little or as long as they wish inside each of the churches on the tour,” said Hente who is the executive director/CEO of the Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Visitors will not only enjoy the splendor of each church’s Christmas décor, but they may also learn some history about the building.
First Baptist Church of Farmington, formerly The Farmington Baptist Church, was started in 1882, a planting by Three Rivers Baptist Church. Originally meeting in the Farmington Baptist College for services, a frame structure was built in 1892. Pastor Brite started a fund, which was then seriously hindered by the panic of 1907. But the red brick structure – which still stands today – was completed in 1910. Since then, the church has continued to grow, with its last building campaign being a welcome center and gymnasium.
According to Panchot, the history of Methodism in Farmington began with Sara Barton Murphy, the widowed wife of the founder of the Murphy Settlement, William Murphy. In 1803 with the assistance of a Methodist circuit rider, Murphy began the first Sunday school west of the Mississippi River.
The following year, Rev. James Oglesby preached in that settlement, and the first Methodist congregation was formed. The congregation continued until the Civil War caused the nation-wide breakup of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
After the war, a Methodist church was recognized in Farmington. Following the merger of three denominations globally, along with the local unification of congregations, in 1950, the Memorial United Methodist Church was created. The church’s new sanctuary and education building were completed in 1953 under the leadership of Rev. Elbert Cole.
“To this day, Memorial United Methodist Church continues the 220-year Farmington tradition of making disciples of Jesus Christ in the Wesleyan way,” said Panchot.
Hente added, “We hope people will take this opportunity to enjoy the peace of these beautiful sanctuaries and contemplate the joy of the season.”
Pam Clifton is a contributing writer for the Daily Journal