Advent Open House to showcase Christmas decorations, music at local churches

Holly Viers • Updated Nov 27, 2017 at 1:12 PM

KINGSPORT — With holiday preparations in full swing, some local churches are coming together to offer community members a peaceful break from the busyness of the season.

The event, called the Advent Open House, will allow the public to enjoy Christmas decorations, music and light refreshments, all at their own pace.

“We decided to offer this so that people in the community could come in and, in the middle of the hustle and bustle, have a peaceful moment with the true meaning of Christmas,” said Kay Ann Smith of First Broad Street United Methodist Church, one of the organizers of the event.

Background: Smith said she got the idea for the open house from another town with several churches in close proximity, similar to Church Circle. Thinking it would be a great event to bring to Kingsport in its centennial year, she and Rosalee Sites, also of First Broad Street, began coordinating it together.

“It’s been really fun to work with the other ministers and the other volunteers in the church,” Smith said. “I am seeing that our churches downtown are doing more and more things together, and it’s wonderful to do that. So it’s just a cooperative effort to allow the community to come in and experience the beauty of Christmas in the church.”

When and where: The open house will be held Dec. 10 from 2-4 p.m. Five churches around Church Circle will be participating: First Christian Church, First Presbyterian Church, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and First Broad Street United Methodist Church.

At the event: During the two-hour event, guests of all ages are invited to visit any or all of the five churches and take self-guided tours of the sanctuaries. Smith said four of the churches will focus on their Christmas decorations, and one church will have docents explaining its stained glass windows.

As they admire the sanctuaries, guests can also enjoy music at each church. Musicians will be on hand playing instruments like the piano, organ and flute, and one church will have a harpist. Light refreshments such as punch and cookies will also be served at each church.

Smith said guests can walk to each church, or they can ride in one of two vans that will make a loop around the churches. One van will leave from First Presbyterian, and the other from First Broad Street.

Why you should attend: Smith said the main goal of the event is to share God’s love with all members of the community, not just members of the five churches.

“All of us welcome visitors and guests,” Smith said, “and what better time to come into a church than at Christmas?”