By Rebecca Wallace
Do you like Christmas? Do you like Christmas lights? Looking for ways to spread Christmas cheer in this strange and distant year? We have got a deal for you! This year in lieu of a traditional Tour of Homes, St. Paul UMC is hosting the Candlelight Tour of Joy, complete with a house decorating contest. So string up some lights, inflate some Santas, and deck the halls. There’s room for every decorator in this contest with awards for first, second, and third place, plus honorable mentions that may include Classic Decorations, the Griswold Award, Best Use of Lights, and if you haven’t gotten over Halloween, The Nightmare before Christmas! Interested participants in Grant Park and surrounding neighborhoods can register at www.CandlelightTourOfHomes.com, and the winners will be announced on December 12.
For artists and shoppers everywhere, St. Paul UMC is also hosting a Tour of Joy Virtual Artist Market. Because the market is virtual, we are excited to feature at least twice as many artists as in typical years and extend it beyond the weekend. It will still offer all the various items you have come to love and count on for your holiday shopping—from jewelry and soaps to handmade toys and pottery.
Finally, what is a holiday event without music? To really get you in the holiday spirit, the Candlelight Tour of Joy brings you a traveling band of holiday merrymakers the evening of December 12. Starting at 6pm at St. Paul UMC (601 Grant St.), a small band of musicians and singers in a parade-style vehicle will head south down Grant Street to Atlanta Avenue and back. Also, the St. Paul choir will hold its annual Candlelight Concert virtually on Sunday at 5:00pm.
“St. Paul looks forward to our friends and neighbors participating, supporting, and enjoying this event,” said Pastor Cassie Rapko. “If it weren’t for the pandemic, 2020 would have been our 40th anniversary Tour of Homes, so we are hoping to preserve some semblance of what has become a special holiday tradition for our neighborhoods.”
The Candlelight Tour of Joy is also a reminder that though many things we love and hold dear have been canceled this year, the church’s mission has not. St. Paul UMC continues to hold weekly services on our website, www.StPaulGrantPark.org, and our Facebook page (@stpaulgrantpark) and do service work in the community, particularly for those neighbors who have been hit hardest by the current economic conditions. Therefore, we ask that you consider a small donation to help replace the proceeds of what is typically our largest fundraising event of the year. Please visit www.CandlelightTourOfHomes.com for a donation link, or call the office at 404-688-7501 to find out about other methods of giving.