2007-12-22 / News

Christmas Eve service returns to its roots

By Charles Prince

THORNVILLE - This Christmas Eve will mark the 17th year that South Shore Ministries have been holding Christmas Eve services in a barn.

About a 100 people turned out for that first service in Ron and Sally Comb's horse barn on Ridenour Road. The pews were bales of hay. Worshippers shared the barn with the horses and some cats and dogs.

Pastor Doug Lynn says one of his favorite barn stories involves a horse with a bad case of flatulence. It was a cold Christmas Eve, but they had to open the doors to get some fresh air.

Services were held at Comb's for seven years. For the last nine years, services have been in the relatively luxurious Red Barn in Thornville. The former diary barn, now used primarily for auctions, has heat, lights and a concrete floor.

Now the congregation is returning to its roots. The 8 p.m. service will be in a working barn - the Gettys Family barn - on Ohio 13 just south of Highpoint Road on the west side. They'll share the space this special evening with cows.

"We're going back to Carhartts and snowmobile suits," Lynn said. Hay bales again will become pews.

While many churches have candlelight services Christmas Eve, there'll be no candles in the barn due to the risk of fire. Flashlights will be just fine, Lynn said.

Everyone is welcome, Lynn emphasized. The barn is at 10275 State Route 13.

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