Church tours

Snow and ice apparently thinned the crowds a bit as four Marietta churches opened their doors for public tours Sunday afternoon, but several hardy souls braved the cold for a look inside the historic institutions.

“I think this was a great idea, although the weather has deterred a lot of people from coming out,” said Sandy Jones of Williamstown who was visiting St. Luke’s Lutheran Church on Scammel Street with husband Alan and daughter Alexis.

The Jones family was admiring a large 1917 wood-carved rendition of The Last Supper located behind the altar at St. Luke’s Lutheran that’s part of the 112-year-old church’s history.

“I hope the low attendance doesn’t stop the churches from doing this again next year,” Sandy said.

Sunday’s self-guided two-hour tour included the First Baptist, First Presbyterian, St. Luke’s Episcopal and St. Luke’s Lutheran churches.

But a squall that blanketed the area with snow and ice Sunday morning apparently kept many people away.

Still folks like Cathy Piekarski with the First Presbyterian Church at Fourth and Wooster streets would like to see the church tours become an annual event.

“I like to see all of the churches doing things like this together,” she said. “The Baptist Church organized this one, but we used to have these tours four or five years ago, and we’d like to do them again.”

Shana Griffin with First Baptist helped arrange Sunday’s tour.

“We called the churches and they all seemed excited to be part of the tour,” she said. “So we put up some posters and advertised the event on radio and online. It’s a chance to open the doors and let the community see inside area churches this time of year.”

Dick Tuttle, a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on Second Street, agreed.

“It’s nice to be able to share this historic church with people,” he said. “I tell everyone we’re a traditional church, but a lot of modern people attend here.”

Fifteen-year-old Nathan McVicar was playing Christmas carols on the piano for those touring the First Baptist Church at the corner of Fourth and Putnam streets.

“I’d like to see more, if not all of Marietta’s churches participate in this every year,” he said.

Chad Mugrage, pastor of the First Baptist Church, said all four churches are planning another tour next year, but the date would be changed to coincide with Marietta’s annual tree-lighting ceremony and Merry-etta Moonlight Madness.

“We want to keep this going and invite more churches to join,” he said. “It’s just an open house type event for people to enjoy some holiday festivities. We have a tour of homes and a tour of loft apartments every year, so why not a tour of churches, too?”

Mugrage said the idea is also to reach out to other churches.

“My heart is for us to become more of a part of the community, to show we care about our community,” he said.