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Homes Tour welcomes the season

New chancellor's house well received

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Guests admire the Christmas tree at the home of ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton and his wife Catherine on Saturday during the annual Christmas Homes Tour fundraiser of St. Paul's Episcopal Church.


By Karen Eckert
The Daily Reflector

Monday, December 3, 2018

Saturday’s weather with gray skies and light rain may have been frightful, but the homes on the St. Paul’s Christmas Homes Tour — they were delightful. 

The St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Christmas Homes Tour & Bazaar has been held each year for 17 years and is a fundraiser for ministries of the church. Proceeds go toward the church’s food pantry and a children’s home in Matthews as well as other outreach programs.

Admission to the bazaar, held at the church, 401 E. Fourth St., was free; tickets for the homes tour were $25.

Judy Whichard, a member of St. Paul’s and chair of the tour, said that approximately 400 tickets were sold. 

This year’s tour included the homes of Barbara and Kirk Dominick, 113 Asbury Road; Kelly and Mark Anthony, 410 Queen Anne’s Road; Missy and Phillip Goldstein, 617 Ontario Drive; Catherine and Cecil Staton, 3100 Kari Blue Lane, and Ann and Gene Taylor, 3779 Speight Seed Farm Road.

Members of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church were stationed at the front door of each home, greeting ticket-holders as they crossed the threshold into halls decked with holiday greenery and sparkle.  

Appearing for the first time this year on the tour was the chancellor’s new home in the Star Hill Farm neighborhood. The Statons are members of St. Paul’s.

The Star Hill Farm home was purchased by the ECU Foundation in March and has been a source of controversy centered mostly around the distance from the university and the cost.

However, controversy was not the focus on Saturday.

Pat Chadwick of Greenville, who was on Saturday’s tour, said that holiday and other items in the home were “well-displayed” and that she appreciated the parking situation at the new residence, which sits on more than five acres and has a large circular driveway.

“Parking is not a problem,” she said. 

Linda Barnes of Greenville said that she thought that the house was not all that far from the university.

“It is fine,” she said.

Barnes and her friend Judy Carlton were captivated by the holiday floral arrangements at the home, which were provided by Jefferson’s Florists.

Most of the furnishings in the house were brought from the Fifth street residence or were pulled from storage where they had been for years according to K Woolard with ECU’s special events office.

After repairs and painting were completed in April, May and June, many events have since been held at the new residence, she said. 

“We’ve done more events here than you can imagine,” said Woolard. “We had our first event on July 10.” 

“We wanted something bigger so we could have larger crowds. It has wonderful terraces out back. When the weather was better in the fall and summer we put bistro tables out there and people love to go out there,” said Woolard.

While some homeowners were present for the tour, the Statons were in Raleigh for the football game.

“It’s been wonderful,” said Kelly Anthony, who, along with her husband, Mark, opened up their home in Lynndale for the tour. “I like the fellowship and getting ready for Christmas and knowing we’re helping the outreach programs at St. Paul’s.”

Cathleen Schultz, a Greenville transplant who moved from Pennsylvania two years ago, supported the church’s outreach programs by shopping at the bazaar.

She liked loading up on Secret Santa gifts she could take to work as well as handmade crafts, baked goods, homemade jams and soups and other items, but also appreciated that her money was going to a good cause. 

“It’s important to give,” Schultz said. “The universe isn’t going to give you anything if you don’t give back.”

Whichard estimates that, between the bazaar and the homes tour, the church will raise approximately $20,000.

For more information about St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and its outreach programs visit www.stpaulsepiscopal.com.

Karen Eckert can be reached at 252-329-9565 or keckert@reflector.com