We greatly enjoyed the Southern Country Church Tour on December 9, 2017. There were five churches on the list and the drive seemed intimidating at first, but once we got on the trail, we discovered how, at least the first four, were closer in location that it seemed. From Cape we decided to start with Christ Lutheran Church, 248 Albert Lane, Cape Girardeau (which is really Gordonville). I have been to this church for meetings before, but have never seen the sanctuary. From the outside, this church does not seem like a "old country church," but from the inside it sure does. They had cookies, coffee, and hot chocolate for us.
The blue drapery with lights was a nice touch. I love stained glass windows and looking at them and pondering what the meaning of the symbols.
I studied each of the Chrismons on these stained glass windows, especially since I am now posting my Chrismon ornaments.
Our second stop was Zion United Methodist Church, 3652 State Highway Z, Cape Girardeau, Missouri (really on the other side of Gordonville). We have been here many times for family reunions. My husband's ancestors are buried in the cemetery here. I have seen this sanctuary before, but it is especially beautiful during the Christmas season.
The Christmas tree was old-time country unique. I had been noticing the metal bells everywhere and could see big metal bell ornaments that carried the theme. There was someone playing the organ and we sat to listen for a while and appreciated the time she was giving.
I spied this Merry Christmas sign on the organ pipes and it just felt real "German roots" to me. It seemed as if it should go here year round as it fit so well.
I always love looking at the old lights and I also notice the symbols in them.
I couldn't resist taking a photo of some of the metal bells. These were on the greenery that went around the doorways. I think I may need to get some of my own old metal bells now.
Our third stop was at St. James United Church of Christ. Wow! Now this is an old country church! I loved the color of the ceiling and the real white pine branches and grape vines that were wound around the poles with lights. There is an image of Jesus that I recognized and so I tested it and sure enough, Jesus's eyes follow you wherever you go.
There were so many little touches in this church if one goes too fast, you would miss them all. I am sure I missed some. I loved the real candles hanging from the pews.
I loved all of the candles sitting right on the floor and it has inspired me to go home and try putting candles on my floor. Why have I never thought of that? The candles were among beautiful poinsettias.
As we were leaving St. James, the blue hour was in fullness highlighting the sunset behind the church. I had to wait for people to leave to get a good photo without vehicles. I could not stop looking at it.
Our fourth stop was Immanuel Lutheran Church, 496 State Highway F, Jackson, Missouri. It was still the amazing blue hour and this church also was embraced by the amazing sunset. This is an example of one reason I love photography in that it makes me slow down to appreciate God's amazing creation. I would have never walked across the street and would have missed this amazing sight before my very own eyes had I not had my camera. Oh, I might have noticed the sunset, but I would have never walked across the street.
The inside of Immanuel was just as impressive. I have seen these old Lutheran sanctuaries before and this one has been kept so traditional it was certainly a step back in time. When we arrived, there were carolers to enjoy. The had cookies and drink for us.
After the carolers, we were treated to a flute ensemble which was beyond magical. I walk to the front of the sanctuary to listen to them from the balcony, but had to go back to the back of the sanctuary to sit and listen for a while. This sanctuary is certainly built with amazing acoustics and there was just something about the sound waves bouncing off the front of the sanctuary and returning to my ears in the back below the balcony that was indescribable.
Our final stop was the Whitewater United Methodist Church, 159 Church Street, Whitewater, Missouri. This was a little more distance from the other churches to drive, and I had wished we could have seen the country drive on the back rodes in the daylight. The people here were friendly (as were the people in every stop) and we were invited into the meeting area where there was this amazing quilt with every Methodist Church in the surrounding area (ie. Cape Girardeau to Iron County) on each block. We were also served snacks and drinks.
There was so much more to see than I could share here and I encourage you to go on the tour next year. Do not hurry through, but take moments to look around and see the little details. We were handed church histories to take home to read as well.
P.S. These are reduced photos sizes for the web, but if any of the churches would like a larger free photo of their church, I welcome you to contact me.