When member Dee Ray began looking for a suitable tree for the church’s first-ever outdoor lighting, a friend pointed her to Young Road Christmas Tree Farm. On Sunday, the 14 1/2-foot tree will be the centerpiece of the evening.
“That’s how we found the perfect tree. It’s kind of like Charlie Brown,” Ray said. “... Then like off the movie ‘Field of Dreams,’ it says, ‘Build it and they will come.’ So that’s kind of what we are doing. We are building up Pine Log United Methodist Church. We’re building it and we want people to come.”
Founded in the mid-1830s, Sunday evening’s celebration will be new ground for the Rydal congregation.
“We have been coming to this church a little over two years now, and we got to thinking, sitting around, and I said, ‘Well, maybe we can do something a little different this year,’” Ray said. “We always have a big event on the first Sunday of December, so we asked the pastor about doing an outdoor tree lighting.”
The rest will become history.
Open to the public, the event begins at 6 p.m. at the church, 3497 Pine Log Road N.E., Rydal, with food in the fellowship hall. The children’s program will perform Christmas songs and plans include storytime, live music and caroling. The tree lighting is expected to take place about 7 p.m.
Church members have been working for more than a week to prepare the church and decorate the grounds for the celebration.
“We wanted to do something for Pine Log. Like I said, again, the church is over 150 years old, and they’ve never had one,” Ray said. “... We just want to get it to where we can have the community out and let the community see what the church looks like ... Just get people to know, I guess what I’m trying to say ..., is the reason behind the season.
“We want to invite as many as we can get to come to church out here. Our doors are open. We are a very loving, a very good church.”
According to the church’s website, http://pinelogumc.com, “During the early 1830s, settlers began to enter a new land, a Cherokee land, which was named Pine Log. These settlers established a community with homes and a church. The church, which began circa 1834, still thrives today.
“Pine Log United Methodist Church has a long history which has been chronicled by newspapers and books. One of the most significant historical moments came in teh summer of 1886. Reverend J.N. Sullivan appealed to God at the closing of one of his camp meeting services with the following prayer: “Lord if it takes it to enter the hearts of these people, shake the grounds on which this old building stands.” At the completion of this prayer the grounds actually shook due to a violent earthquake that struck Charleston, South Carolina. From this point on, Pine Log United Methodist Church would be known as the praying church where God answered prayer by shaking its grounds.”
For more information, contact the church at 770-386-2736.