Edward parade begins new tradition

Published 1:40 pm Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Contributing Writer

EDWARD — Edward Christian Church began a new holiday tradition Sunday afternoon by sponsoring the community’s inaugural Christmas parade.
And if the church’s congregation has its way, it won’t be the last.
“We’re expecting this to become a yearly parade,” said pastor David Linton, who coordinated the event with the help of his wife, Linda. “We’re trying to get out in the community and make a difference. That’s the main thing.”
Sunday’s procession included a collection of vintage automobiles spanning the 1920s to the 1970s, along with fire and rescue personnel from Edward, Aurora, Blounts Creek, Grantsboro-Silver Hill and Chocowinity. Adding to the mix were local Scouts, youth of the community, horseback-riders, motorcyclists and the Sudan Truckers.
Weeks ago, Billy and Dorothy Bonner were chosen as the parade’s grand marshals. However, because of a death in the family, the Bonners requested that the church’s longest-serving deacon, Steve Carrow, and his wife, Sylvia, fill in for them Sunday, according to Linton.
Following the parade, its participants and spectators were invited to the church to share hot chocolate, coffee, holiday treats and fellowship.
The parade was the latest in a series of special events and activities organized by the church.
“You can say we’re moving beyond our own comfort zone,” Linton said with a smile. “This year, we’re going all out.”
In October, the church offered “church treats” at Halloween, for example.
“Instead of trick-or-treating, we went in the community and gave out treats,” Linton said. “And for the ‘hanging of the greens,’ when we decorate the church, we passed out 97 tins of cookies with invitations to attend the services. We’re starting to see fruit from this, with people coming to church.”
Linton said he has a favorite saying pertaining to the congregation’s efforts to reach the community.
“You can be a keeper of the aquarium or you can be a fisher of men,” he said. “And we choose to be fishers of men.”
Edward Christian Church also has an active prison ministry, and the next holiday event is slated for New Year’s Eve.
“We’re going to have a manger in front of the church with a lighted star on a 90-foot boom,” Linton said. “As it gets close to midnight, the star will begin to rise and when it reaches the top, a cross will light up.”