By DUANE NOLLEN
Local homeowners and the St. Paul Congregational United Church of Christ opened their doors to visitors Sunday afternoon to ring in the Christmas holiday season with the 2012 Christmas Tour of Homes.
The Oskaloosa Area Association of Churches organizes the tour of homes which also is a benefit event for a local organization. This year, Crisis Intervention Services is the beneficiary of the tour.
The Rev. Liz Colton said her church volunteered to be part of the tour because in 2013 the congregation is celebrating the 40 year anniversary of the merger of two congregations. In 1973, the First Congregational Church of Oskaloosa merged with the St. Paul Evangelical and Reformed Church.
In celebration of the anniversary, the congregation arranged an historic display highlighting the church’s history. They also decorated the sanctuary with a large Christmas tree.
Besides St. Paul Congregational United Church of Christ, other stops on the tour of homes included the Sue and Dwain Miller home at 1405 15th Ave. W., the home of Den and Roxy Moorman at 1014 C Ave. E., the home of Gerald and Linda Wolf at 107 Rosenberger Ave. and Jacob Ray’s home at 404 N. C St.
Michella Friesen, the CIS Sexual Assault Response Team coordinator was at the church to answer any questions visitors may have.
The proceeds will help fund programs throughout the organization, she said.
CIS provides services to help the victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse through prevention, life-skills training and outreach services. The organization also has a shelter for victims. CIS provides services in Mahaska, Marion, Keokuk and Lucas counties.
Friesen said the CIS Crisis Line is (641) 673-5499.
Friesen said CIS has been busy lately helping people.
Activity “ebbs and flows,” she said. “Lately, we’ve been extremely busy at the office and the shelter.
Sometimes CIS staffers have more work to do during the holidays or in the summer, since children are not in school and abuse victims have more freedom of action. However, there is no fixed pattern, Friesen said.