Historic church reopens for Christmas service

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 12, 2007

SEDLEY—The &uot;Annual Country Christmas&uot; at Barrett’s Christian Church drew a capacity crowd Sunday.

More than 130 people, former members, their descendants and friends gathered for just the 11th Christmas service in 50 years at the tiny, 120-year-old, one-room church.

Opened especially for the service, the church had been decorated with an old-fashioned cedar Christmas tree and garlands tied with festive wine-colored bows especially for the season.

And just as it had been in the past, heat was provided by a space heater in the very center of the room.

&uot;I am so happy to see so many people here, &uot;said Richard Simms. &uot;Looks to me like every seat is filled.&uot;

Simms, who takes responsibility for the upkeep of the church, took over the job from his father, John, when the elder Simms became ill.

John Simms passed away in 1995.

Nearly a dozen people participated in the musical program, all accompanying themselves on either banjo or guitar.

They included solos by Virginia Owen of Wakefield, duets by Jimmy Ricks and Robin St. Sing of Boykins and solos by

Marilyn Pernell of Disputanta.

Other songs were provided by Billy Galloway of Wakefield and the team of Molly Dowless and Rusty Lowe of Berlin.

The Christmas Theme Song, written by Sharon Patterson for the very first service in 1996, was performed by Patterson and several from the congregation.

Having an annual Christmas service was a dream of the elder Simms, said his son, adding that his father loved this church.

&uot;I’m sure he’s smiling as he looks down on us right now.&uot;

The church actually was established in 1775, according to Simms. Although details on its early history are sketchy, he said an old placard was found that states the church was established at this time.