Church makes ready for Toy Coffee event
A Christmon Tree, decorated by church members, stands near one of the many beautiful windows of First Presbyterian Church in Orange. The church will be the host site of the 59th Annual Toy Coffee event, sponsored by the Service League of Orange, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 3. Photo by Tommy Man Jr.
By Tommy Mann Jr. – For The Record
Guests of the annual Toy Coffee holiday event will have the opportunity to experience something a little different this year.
The Service League of Orange will hold its 59th Annual Toy Coffee event from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 3, at First Presbyterian Church, 902 W. Green Ave. in downtown Orange. Admission for the event is a new, unwrapped toy or a cash donation.
The event will feature a mix of holiday decorations with the many wonderful and breath-taking architectural designs of the historic facility.
The church was established in 1878, according to information provided by First Presbyterian Church. Construction of the Lutcher Memorial Building at First Presbyterian Church was completed in 1912 and features classic Greek Revival architecture. It is also credited with being the first air-conditioned public building constructed west of the Mississippi River.
The church is also known for its beautiful opalescent stained glass windows, such as “The Good Shepherd,” “The Holy Family” and “Jesus in the Temple,” among others.
“A normal tour of the church takes about 45-minutes,” said Cara Love of First Presbyterian Church. “The tour for the Toy Coffee will only be about 10 minutes, but it will give the guests a glimpse of so much of the beauty that is located here. The focus will be on the windows and architecture, along with the decorations.”
One unique feature is The Chrismon Tree, located on the second floor.
A Chrismon Tree is slightly different than a typical Christmas tree in that they are always white and gold. The purpose of the tree is to remind people of the life, teaching and ministry of Jesus.
The white of the tree symbolizes Jesus’ purity and perfection, while the gold represents His majesty and glory as King of kings, according to church information. The tree is a reminder of God’s creation, which is fresh and alive and represents people who are alive and growing in Jesus.
The Chrismon Tree is displayed during Advent, which is the four Sunday’s before Christmas and will be on display until Jan. 6, 2016, which is the Feast of Epiphany.
The ornaments on the tree are handmade by church-members and each symbol has a meaning. These symbols are the fish, butterfly, dove, shell and Jerusalem Cross.
The church is home to a beautiful sounding 38-rank Casavant Organ, which is a three manual instrument with 2,435 pipes. It was installed in the spring of 1953 and the first recital was held on May 3, 1953.
“Guests will have a real treat for the Toy Coffee as Darren Hoyland will be playing on one of the organs,” Love added.
Since 2009, approximately 2,300 guests have attended the annual Toy Coffee event and donated more than 2,800 toys and almost $24,000, according to information from the Service League.
Parking will be available in a lot located on Elm Street, between 8th and 9th Streets. Guests will follow the sidewalk along 8th Street to the front of the church. Shuttles will be available to help transport guests.
Guests will enter through the main entrance of the church and proceed upstairs to the left as the tour begins and then come back down the right stairs and go into the lower sanctuary for refreshments. An elevator is available for those who may be unable to utilize the stairs, but the stairway portion of the tour does include a large part of the information for the event.