If you see about 200 people walking around Hillsboro with candles on Saturday, Dec. 12, they will likely be taking part in the 22nd annual Candelight Walk.
The walk starts at 6 p.m. at the First Baptist Church and continues to six other churches. At each stop the procession enjoys 10 to 15 minutes of music before moving on to the next church.
“Each church is a little different,” said Maurice Mitchell, pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Hillsboro who organizes the event. “Some sing hymns, some have choirs, some have cantatas and some have instrumental music. It’s open to anybody, anywhere and you don’t have to stay for the whole thing. You can come anytime and leave early or you come and join in later.”
Mitchell said candles are passed out to the walkers and they are lit as they walk from church to church. But he said there are also people each year who follow along in their vehicles.
“At some point around 150 to 200 people are involved,” Mitchell said. “It kind of depends on the weather. We’ve had snow and we’ve had rain, but we just dress for it and go out and about.”
The walk was started by Marilyn Myers, Mitchell said, and at one time included 10 churches. But it got to running too late so these days seven churches take part, and not always the same ones. Mitchell said the starting point of the walk also rotates each year.
This year the walks starts at 6 p.m. at the First Baptist Church, 127 S. West St. It stops at 6:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 234 N. High St.; 7 p.m. at New Hope Baptist Church, 128 E. Beech St.; 7:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 201 E. Main St.; 8 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 133 E. Walnut St.; 8:30 p.m. at St. Mary Catholic Church, 212 S. High St.; 9 p.m. at Wayman Chapel AME Church, 144 W. Pleasant St.; then ends back where it started for refreshments and fellowship.
“Come to two or three or come in the middle. We welcome anyone at anytime,” Mitchell said.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.