Churches unite for Christmas on the Hill Dec. 11
by Marie Nesmith
Dec 04, 2011 | 2000 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lisa Lowe directs the choir in a rehearsal for Christmas on the Hill Monday evening. The annual program that will feature the play, “Jesus Came,” will be held Dec. 11 at 6 p.m. at Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, 147 Jones St. in Cartersville. The offering is comprised of at least 150 people from more than 10 area churches.
DAYTON P. STRICKLAND/The Daily Tribune News
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For choir director Lisa Lowe, Christmas on the Hill is an annual opportunity to reunite with old friends. While harmonizing more than 70 voices from different churches is a fun challenge, her greatest thrill is seeing the production unfold in front of the public.

"I look forward to it every year because of the people who make up the choir with the various churches," said Lowe, who is a member of Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church. "That's the only time of year that every church no matter what denomination, creed or color can get together, rehearse toward a common goal. Most of the people, I don't even see until this time of year. So that is my favorite part -- getting to [reconnect] with old friends.

"We start rehearsals the third Monday in October. So we rehearse probably seven straight Mondays in a row. It's funny because I get the vision before it happens but the actual way it comes to on that night, it usually [is] bigger than what I conceived it to be. So it's amazing. It's kind of like watching a child grow up really quickly."

On Dec. 11, the Christmas on the Hill program will return to Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church featuring "Jesus Came," a play written and directed by Margaretta Eppinger. At least 150 people will help bring this 6 p.m. production to life, with musicians, dancers, actors and choir members hailing from more than 10 congregations.

"This year we're going to go back to the original Christmas story," said Eppinger, also a member of Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist, 147 Jones St. in Cartersville. "We've kind of shied away from it the last couple of years. So we're going to go back every once in a while.

"I feel like there might be somebody there who needs to be reminded of why he came and how he came to be. I want them to know that God loved us so much that he allowed his son to be born so that we might be free. And there's some people out there [who] may need to know that."

Complementing the play will be the choir's gospel selections, which will include two original songs -- one penned by Lowe and the other by Byron Douglas.

"I'm excited about [this year's play] because last year was a completely different feel," Lowe said. "The story doesn't change ... but the perception that we can bring to it, telling if from a different standpoint is always interesting and it always gives a freshness to it."

While Christmas on the Hill is free and open to the public, the program's organizers encourage attendees to bring a financial donation to the offering.

"There's no admission charge but pastor [Edward Rhodes] allows us to take up a collection," Eppinger said. "And we take that money, plus every practice we take up a donation and the singers give money, and with that money we buy food and gifts for families. Last year, I think we took care of 15 or more families. I mean, real good care.

"Queen Lowe is over that, she's over our women's program at the church and what they do for these families with that money is just amazing. [It is very touching to see] because the reaction that you get from people who are not used to having a good meal or from children who wouldn't ordinarily get anything for Christmas. It's amazing. It makes your Christmas. It does, and I believe that's why the Lord blesses us to put this program on and put people in place that can be a blessing to others."

For more information about Christmas on the Hill, Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist can be reached at 770-386-7425.