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Illumination, church service kick start holiday season here tonight

The Barnesville-Lamar County Chamber of Commerce and Lamar County Ministerial Association are joining forces once again for the annual Illumination Celebration on Wednesday, Nov. 26. A community church service will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Barnesville First United Methodist Church followed by Illumination Celebration activities at the Depot about an hour later, where Santa Claus can be found and the city’s Christmas lights will be turned on. At the church, the prelude ‘Passacaglia’ will be given by Wayne Cook. The welcome by Barnesville Mayor Peter Banks will be followed by the opening prayer by Rev. Lonnie Grant, pastor of Barnesville Church of the Nazarene. Special music, ‘A New Thanksgiving,’ will be provided by the Community Choir directed by Rev. John Cox, music minister of Barnesville FUMC. Dr. Jeff Morgan, pastor of Antioch Baptist, will lead the congregation in the call to worship before the hymn ‘We Gather Together’ is sung. The pastoral prayer will be given by Rev. Arianna Eberle, pastor of The Rock-Yatesville-Culloden UMCs. She will be followed by a performance by the Antioch Trio made up of Kelanie Stubbs, Margaret McCook and April Savage. Rev. Garth Forster, pastor of Barnesville First Baptist Church, will read the scripture and Rev. Craig Ogletree, pastor of Greater Spring Hill Missionary Baptist, will offer the sermon. The next hymn, ‘For the Beauty of the Earth,’ will be followed by the offertory prayer by Rev. Steve Pattison of Rock Springs Church. The offertory will be ‘Come, Ye Thankful People, Come’ by Cook and Jan Baker. The response will be Doxology 95. The offering received will be given to the Lamar County Empty Stocking Fund. Checks should be made payable to LCMA. The benediction will be made by Rev. Sherri Studdard of Al dora and Ebenezer United Methodist churches, followed by the hymn ‘Blest Be the Tie That Binds’ verses one and four. The postlude ‘Alleluia’ will also be sung by Cook. FUMC pastor Rev. Dana Overton-Garrett was instrumental in putting the service together. A nursery for infants and children up to age 3 will be available. To contribute to the work of the Lamar County Ministerial Association, donations may be sent to P.O. Box 971 Barnesville, 30204. After the service, participants can walk as a group downtown to the Illumination Celebration. There the night will continue with festivities themed ‘A Polar Express Christmas.’ There will be carols, dancing and the reading of the Christmas story. Pictures with Santa will be provided by Reflections Photography. ’The Illumination Ceremony will bring our community together,’ said chamber president Marshall Hooks. ‘We encourage businesses to stay open and present the true meaning of hospitality Barnesville is known for.’ Community members and local businesses have entered the gingerbread house competition and window decorating contest. Gingerbread houses will be on display and available for judging at 217 Main St. Attendees can stop by at any point Nov. 26 before 6:30 p.m. to vote for their favorites. Participating vendor windows will be decorated in a Polar Express theme. Judging will take place Tuesday, Nov. 25. Winners for all contests will be announced at the ceremony. The chamber is continuing season savings with a Polar Express boarding pass. Pick one up at the chamber office and visit participating merchants for holiday shopping. Get stamped by Nov. 26 and enter the completed passport at the voting location downtown by 6:30 p.m. for a drawing for cash and gift certificates.

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