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Seminary president’s home wins community Christmas tour award

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–Magnolia Hill, home of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson and first lady Dorothy Patterson, captured top honors this year in the Town of Wake Forest Historic Christmas Tour of Homes.

Magnolia Hill, built in 1928, won the first place prize Dec. 9 for having the most developed Christmas theme and decorations.

The theme throughout the 19-room Tudor-style home was “Williamsburg” and all the decorations were authentic to the colonial 1700s.

A 10-foot Christmas tree in the sitting room showcased hundreds of homemade Williamsburg Christmas ornaments fashioned by seminary students and students’ wives. The decorations were researched by students at the Wake Forest, N.C., campus for authenticity to the 1700s.

Melanie Dunn, a music seminary student, designed an 18th-century colonial dress, which she wore while leading community guests through a tour of Magnolia Hill.

“It was a wonderful thing for the community to be able to come through and see the heart of the seminary portrayed through the holiday decorating at Magnolia Hill,” Dunn said. “The Christmas story and gospel message was written throughout the house, and it was a beautiful way to share it with all those who entered.”

Dorothy Patterson said the effort by the seminary family made the open house and historic tour a success.

“It is exciting to see the creativity and commitment of our campus family,” Patterson said. “We love to celebrate here at Southeastern, and Christmas is one of our favorite celebrations. Not only because it commemorates the birth of our Lord, but also because this season gives us an opportunity to emphasize friends and family.”

Saying she was “humbled and honored” by the award, Patterson extended a standing invitation to the community to visit the home: “Our welcome mat is always out for the community.”

Cindy Bush, wife of Academic Vice President Russ Bush, coordinated the involvement of the seminary students and said an important element of such an event is showing the future ministers’ wives the importance of careful planning.

“It is important to encourage women to know how to effectively decorate in their place of service,” said Bush, who was described by Patterson as a “gifted floral designer and very creative decorator.”

“It is important for the ladies of the seminary to understand that a project like this does not happen overnight,” Bush said.

“I am very pleased that our efforts met the judges criteria,” she said. “The president’s house has always lent itself to being used for public gatherings, even early in [its] history. We keep history alive by being involved in such events as this.”

The parade of historic homes took place the same weekend that an ice storm crippled the town of Wake Forest, but Chris Thompson, special assistant to the president, noted that the storm set a contrast with the warmth inside the president’s home.

“It was great that Magnolia Hill was open during the storm so that we could set an atmosphere of joy and happiness. Hopefully, this home reflects our hearts,” Thompson said.

Bobbie Moosbrugger, hospitality coordinator of Magnolia Hill, said, “All the honor goes to the Lord. Here at Magnolia Hill, we try to have servants’ hearts. We are here for the town and we want to show hospitality to all who enter here.”

To take a virtual tour of the “Williamsburg Christmas” in the Pattersons’ home, visit www.sebts.edu.
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: STUDENT-DECORATED TREE and COMMUNITY WINNER.

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  • Kelly Davis