The congregation of Salem Black River Presbyterian Church invites the public to attend its Christmas service at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16. Church organist William Scobee, who is also choir director and …
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The congregation of Salem Black River Presbyterian Church invites the public to attend its Christmas service at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16. Church organist William Scobee, who is also choir director and organist for St. James Lutheran Church in Sumter, will direct the St. James choir and friends in a service of Lessons and Carols. Carols will alternate with readings from the Bible.
The historic church is undergoing some renovations in order to preserve it for many more years, but Martha Greenway, member of the Session and church treasurer, said, "Although the interior looks pretty rough, I'm sure the Christmas spirit will prevail!"
She said the plaster walls and ceilings have had the paint sanded off, so that the congregation can decide what steps should be taken next to deal with a moisture concern. None of this should interfere with the service or the acoustics in the sanctuary.
Among the carols on the program will be "Praise Ye the Lord of Hosts," from Camille Saint-Sa ns' Christmas Oratorio; "O Come, Divine Messiah!," arranged by Hal Hopson; Charles McCartha's arrangement of "The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns," with accompaniment by Michael Baier on cello; "What Can I Give Him?" with text by Christina Rossetti and music by Timothy Sharp; and "Glory to God in the Highest" by G.B. Pergolesi and Philip W.J. Stopford.
Scobee said, "The congregation and choir will sing together the carols 'Once in Royal David's City,' 'Silent Night' and 'O Come All Ye Faithful.' (These) beloved carols of the season will be augmented by soprano descants by Philip Stopford and Mark Andrews."
The Christmas service will be led by the Rev. David Cozad, now retired and living in Montreat, North Carolina, with his wife, Dana. A graduate of Eckerd College, he also holds a Master of Science in Planning degree in Urban Planning and Social Policy from Florida State University, a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in Virginia and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Columbia Seminary in Atlanta, with an emphasis in Stewardship.
Cozad is Pastor Emeritus of First Presbyterian Church of Aiken, from which he retired in 2012. In 2014, he came out of retirement temporarily to serve for two years as senior pastor and head of staff at Shandon Presbyterian Church in Columbia and then for another two years in the same position at Central Presbyterian Church in Atlanta.
Salem Black River Presbyterian Church, also known as Brick Church, was built in the Greek Revival style in 1846 and has stood as a noted example of the architectural style since, although the architect, if there was one, is unknown. Scobee noted that "the early settlers and their descendants were refined, educated folk, who had at their disposal classical knowledge of architecture and the wherewithal to employ a capable builder."
Brick Church was built by J. Lomas & Co. of Columbia for $5,620 using locally produced clay bricks.
The public is invited to attend the 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, service of Lessons and Carols at Salem Black River Presbyterian Church. A reception will follow in the Meeting House. The church is on S.C. 527 about 2 miles east of U.S. 378.
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