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Walking the path — Arts Commission offers historic church tour of downtown Danville

Presented by the Arts Commission of Danville/Boyle County, a guided church tour is offered to the public beginning at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15. Mimi Becker, executive director of the Arts Commission, said the purpose is to encourage people to go into churches they may have not had the opportunity to visit. 

“We want to give them an opportunity to ‘show off’ their historic windows, statues, tell their stories …” Becker says. She says special thanks goes out to Mary Margaret Estill at Trinity Episcopal for helping plan the event. 

Each church will have a representative on site who will focus on the history of the property, restoration work and changes on the properties over the years. 

“This will include not only history of the church, but art, the windows, music and so on,” Becker says. “Each church really does have its own, unique story.” 

The tour is free and will wrap up at St. James AME Church, where dinner will be offered at $12 per guest. Becker says she’s not certain what’s on the menu as of yet. 

“However, if anyone knows, the ladies at St. James are infamous for their dinners. It’s really not to be missed,” she says. 

Also up for discussion at Ss. Peter and Paul, she says, is the recent planned addition of an elevator to the property. “A representative will discuss what’s going on with that and the construction involved. There’s been some talk in the community and they want to make sure everyone’s aware what’s going on.” 

Participants may join in on the tour at any of the churches. Becker says parking may be easiest along Second Street or near Constitution Square Park. It’s a planned walking tour, but Becker says those who wish may drive from church to church.

“We should have about 15 minutes at each stop to hear histories and take in the sights,” she says. 

Becker asks that all who wish to participate make reservations by Tuesday in order to get a good headcount. 

Church tour schedule

3 p.m. — Second Street Christian, 228 S. Second St.  (focus on history and recent renovations)

3:30 p.m. — First Baptist, 200 W. Walnut St. (history)

4 p.m. — Third Street Methodist, corner of Third and Walnut streets(history and restoration)

4:30 p.m. — Presbyterian, 500 W. Main St.

5 p.m. — Trinity Episcopal, 320 W. Main St. (organ concert, history and stained glass windows)

5:30 p.m. — Lexington Avenue Baptist, 339 W. Lexington St. (organ and history)

6 p.m. — Ss. Peter and Paul, 117 W. Main St. (history and upcoming renovation to accommodate elevator addition)

6:30 p.m. — St. James AME, 124 E. Walnut St. (history, changes over the years, dinner)

IF YOU GO

The guided church tour of downtown Danville starts 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15. To make a reservation, email arts@betterindanville.com or call (859) 236-2361, ext. 111.

SO YOU KNOW

Mimi Becker says participants on the guided church tour can stop off at the McKinney Center at Constitution Square Park and take in “Quilts.” An exhibit sponsored by the Arts Commission of Danville/Boyle County, “Quilts” is a collection of work from Pieceable Friends quilting group. An opening reception will be held 6-7:30 p.m. at the center.