Christmas in the Country

Randy Norris and granddaughter, London Norris, paint the huge tree stand.

Each year, the Eastern Cowley County Resource Center is host to a Christmas Open House. This year the nonprofit is taking its literacy and food programs to the country.

The event, Christmas In The Country, is set for Saturday at Hicks Chapel Church, 26802 282nd Road, in rural Dexter.

A dinner catered by Grouse Valley Grill for confirmed guests starts at 5 p.m., and a Singing Christmas Tree choir program begins at 6 p.m. and is open to the public.

An original painting of Hicks Chapel, a 110-year-old church, is being offered for the highest bid in a silent auction. The painting was created by Rita Krug. The auction will continue until Dec. 16. Bids may be placed by emailing ECCRC at, mailing them to ECCRC at PO Box 40, Dexter, KS 67038, or at the event.

Proceeds from the auction go to the roof replacement fund for the old church.

ECCRC purchased the church when the United Methodist Parish closed the Hicks Chapel United Methodist Church in May. The chapel reopened in June as Hicks Chapel Church. ECCRC has an office in the chapel and uses the fellowship hall for food programs and community workshops. The chapel is still used for religious activities.

The 25-member choir will present “What A Beautiful Name it Is” while standing on a 12-foot tall choir stand shaped in the form of a Christmas tree. Randy Norris, with the help of his late daughter, Jennifer, fashioned the stand. It was used in the Dexter community for a cantata a couple of times in the past.

The program includes a children’s nativity and choir, along with the adult choir.

After the program, ECCRC will pass out goodie bags for the children and new books to kids and families.

The event is sponsored by Southern Kansas Telephone, Walmart of Winfield, Norris Family, ECCRC, Slaven family, and Marilyn Love.

ECCRC is in its 16th year of service as a 501 C 3 in Cowley County, with a focus on literacy, healthy food for families, and community participation. They sponsor the Dexter Community Gardens and Farmers Market in Dexter each summer.

For more information about the event or ECCRC programs, find them on Facebook or call (620) 876-7323.

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