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UMC Christmas Tour stopping near Charleston City Market

Road tour aims to unwrap the true meaning of Christmas

Those heading to the Charleston City Market in search of shopping bargains might find the true meaning of Christmas – along with a festive cup of cocoa.

Shoppers need look no further than an easy-to-find, bedecked tour truck for “The True Meaning of Christmas Tour” with festivities from 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 19, at 182 Church St. – directly across from the Charleston City Market. A day later, Columbia-area United Methodist churches will host the event at EdVenture Children’s Museum, 211 Gervais St., in Columbia, from 1 to 4 p.m.

The truck is hitting the road in 16 states this year as The United Methodist Church visits 21 cities to offer free hot cocoa and a chance to unwrap the true meaning of Christmas. Asbury-St. James, Bethel, Centenary, Mt. Carmel, Old Bethel, Trinity and Wesley UMCs will host the come-and-go event, and the whole community is invited.

Giving back to the community is part of the package. Monetary donations (cash and checks) for the Homeless to Hope Fund will be collected. The Homeless to Hope Fund is a nonprofit that helps address homelessness, replacing Charleston’s former “Tent City” with the aim to find them shelter and permanent housing.

“We want to offer our community a different type of gift: an opportunity to celebrate what Christmas is all about by engaging in service with neighbors, boosting joy and building relationships with others,” said the Rev. Greta Bridges, pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church in Charleston.

A survey conducted by Pew Research Center in 2013 indicated that the activities that people least liked at Christmas time are the commercialism/materialism, money/expense, and shopping/crowds. What they most look forward to is spending time with family and friends (69 percent) and religious reflection/church (11 percent).

“This tour is a unique way for the church to reach out to people who are experiencing loneliness or who want to give back to the community at this significant time of year,” said Dan Krause, chief executive of United Methodist Communications, which is coordinating the month-long expedition. “More than 500 volunteers from local United Methodist churches are partnering with us to make this a multi-state effort.”

The True Meaning of Christmas tour will stop in 21 cities, Dec. 2 through Dec. 24. Follow the tour online at UnwrapChristmas.org and #UnwrapChristmas.

 

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