Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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November 30, 2013

Dresden to celebrate season, history

Corsicana — The small Dresden United Methodist Church is celebrating the Christmas holiday in a big way.

Decorated to the nines with greenery, a massive tree and candles, the church is also planning a special holiday event with a Lessons and Carols service at 6 p.m. Dec. 8. The church is located on FM 744, half a mile east of FM 55.

Lessons and Carols is the traditional Church of England service that uses Gospel readings, interspersed with Christmas carols, to tell the story of Christ’s birth, and its significance.

The ceremony has its roots in the 1800s, but so does the church. Dresden claims to be the oldest continual church in Navarro County, now at 166 years old.

Dresden as a community started in the early 1840s, and the church was founded in 1847, along with a school and the cemetery. The current building is 90 years old, replacing a previous structure destroyed by fire. In 1872, the church was at its height, with 214 members. The size of the church dwindled as the community shrank, with descendants moving away to bigger cities and higher–paying jobs than cotton growing.

Now, the congregation has a couple dozen faithful regulars, some of whom are fifth and sixth generations in the church.

Bobbie Simmons, who’s been leading the decorating effort for the last six years, was the first one in her family to join the church. When she and her husband moved to Dresden they visited a number of churches in Corsicana and the area before a neighbor invited them to visit Dresden United Methodist.

“We loved it,” she said. “The people just made you feel so welcome. We’re one big family.”

She invited her sister, Shirley Kimball, who lives in Sherman to come down one Sunday, and she ended up joining also. She drives two hours to attend Sunday services.

“I just felt like it was family, and that’s very important to me,” Kimball said.

Dorothy Holland, a long-time member of the church, said their goal is to fill the church each Sunday.

“We want to bring people in and let them see how we are, that we’re not a closed group,” she said.

“I cannot go through those doors without getting several hugs. There’s a lot of love in here,” said Mary Ann Haden.

The Lessons and Carols service will take place at 6 p.m. Dec. 8, and a candlelight Christmas Eve service at 6 p.m. Dec. 24. Regular worship services are at 9 a.m. Sundays. The church is located at 13672 FM 744, next to the Dresden Cemetery.

     —————

Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “sound off” to this article? E-mail: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com

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