Effingham County is in for a new treat this Christmas season at the “Historic Effingham Christmas at Ebenezer” to be held Nov. 27 from 3-7 p.m. at Ebenezer.
“This Christmas, we want to emphasize our heritage of faith and the foundations of worship that are the grass-roots of Effingham County,” said Lonnie Pate, long time resident of Effingham.
“What better time to do it than Christmas, and what better place to do it than at Ebenezer,” said Beth Epling, Education Coordinator of New Ebenezer Retreat Center.
This summer, Pate shared with Rev. Darren Thomas, minister of education at the First Baptist Church of Springfield, his vision for a community-wide Christmas event. The two began brainstorming on how to draw the community back to its roots of worship and faith during the holidays. Thus, the idea for Historic Effingham Christmas at Ebenezer was born.
On Sunday, the community is invited to attend a “Historic Effingham Christmas at Ebenezer” where you will experience a night of community worship, historic remembrance and Christmas celebration.
The events begin at 3 p.m. with a tour of the Old Salzburger Home, where visitors will see a family in period costume, decorating the house, dipping candles and making syrup the way it was done over 270 years ago. The Salzburger Home and demonstrations will be open from 3-4:45 p.m.
At 5 p.m., the giant live Christmas tree at the New Ebenezer Retreat Center will be lit and traditional Christmas carols will be sung. Holiday refreshments will also be served at the Retreat Center.
At 6 p.m., the traditional Advent Service will be held at the Jerusalem Lutheran Church, with a hand bell choir and children and adult choirs.
“This service is a traditional Advent service,” said pastor John Barichivich. “The entire community is invited.”
If the church is full, visitors will be able to hear the service outside.
“The whole mission of this event is to bring the entire community back to the cross at Christmas,” said Rev. Thomas. “It is being held on Sunday evening in keeping with the Jerusalem Lutheran Church tradition, but also in hopes that our area churches will choose to worship as one body that night on the site where our ancestors first worshiped in Effingham County.”
All denominations are invited to attend.
After the church service, a brief outdoor live nativity will be held by candlelight.
Admission is free and the sponsors are: New Ebenezer Retreat Center, Jerusalem Lutheran Church, the Georgia Salzburger Society and the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce.
In addition to Pate and Thomas, the Historic Effingham Christmas at Ebenezer Committee includes: Connie Bazemore, Director of the New Ebenezer Retreat Center; Beth Epling, Education Coordinator of New Ebenezer; Pastor John Barichivich of Jerusalem Lutheran Church; Noble Boykin, President of the Georgia Salzburger Society; and Springfield City Councilman Butch Kieffer.