Appreciating the beauty of the churches, their architecture and their people, participants in Friday's Candlelight Church Walk in Millersburg enjoyed an early celebration of the holiday season.
Nina Kasner helped to prepare for the event, as in the past, at Millersburg Christian Church. Manning the refreshment table near the church's recently redesigned entry, she said, "I like to listen to the comments on our church. Many say it's the prettiest church they've seen. I think that's why there's a lot of weddings here."
Next to her, Norma Hoxworth said she enjoys the opportunity participants get to take in and appreciate a variety of architectural details, holiday decorations, music and fine refreshments.
Bonnie Slater was one of the first guest to walk through the door. Her home church, she said, was the first stop on her tour of all six participating churches, which also included the First Presbyterian, Faith Lutheran, St. Peter's Catholic, Millersburg Mennonite and Grace Pointe Community churches.
"I've been going here forever. I grew up here and I got married here. I love this church," she said, adding that over the years she played piano and sang in the choir at the church. "I love the way it looks. It's like home to me."
She was joined on the tour by Evelyn Edwards, who said she was looking forward to seeing churches she doesn't normally go into.
"It's a good way to support our church and a good way to go out and see other churches at their best," she said.
Bob and Becky Porter are the liaisons between the church walk and St. Peter's, where holiday decorations remained at a minimum in observance of advent.
"We enjoy going to the different churches and seeing how they decorate," he said, adding, "It's nice everybody can get together at other churches, especially on this sad day."
"We have friends in all the churches," he said. "I'd like to see it expand (to include more churches).
"It's just a neat thing to get into the other churches and then all come together at the end to sing Christmas carols," Becky added.
The post-walk celebration was held at Millersburg Mennonite, where Joe and Phyllis Wengerd are members.
"We didn't come last year, and we thought we would come out this evening to celebrate the birth of Christ," he said.
"It's just a wonderful opportunity to experience fellowship with our other churches," she added.
Leslie Westbrook is the secretary at the Millersburg Christian Church.
"I think it's cool that people get to go into other churches and see what they do and what they stand for," she said, adding it's an event that attracts those who have a sense of curiosity and "people who aren't afraid of this time of year."
"A lot of people go through the season with a 'bah, humbug' attitude. The people who come in here seem to have joy," she said.
Reporter Christine L. Pratt can be reached at 330-674-5676 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.