Epiphany Lutheran Church celebrates 35 years of fellowship ELLICOTT CITY/ELKRIDGE


January 18, 1993|By JEAN LESLIE

On Sunday at 10:30 a.m., Epiphany Lutheran Church in Columbia Hills celebrates its 35th anniversary of service to Ellicott City and neighboring communities. The Rev. David Berg, current pastor of the church, on Sybert Drive, will conduct a simple service reflecting the church's beginnings. Afterward, the church will share a baked ham lunch with all; many original church members are expected to attend.

Founded as an independent congregation in 1958, Epiphany Evangelical Lutheran Church first met in a private home in Catonsville with the Rev. Christian Neumann and 100 followers. As the congregation grew, it found larger spaces on Edmondson Avenue. The search for a permanent location culminated when the group discovered a large stone barn sitting upon a hill outside of Ellicott City. Architect William Stone declared the structure to be sound and designed alterations for reconstruction. The steps at the church's front door stands where tractors went up an earthen ramp to deliver hay for storage, and Sunday school is held where animals once lived in their stalls.

In 1963, when Columbia was in the planning stage and only a handful of homes existed in Columbia Hills, the congregation envisioned the growth that we are now experiencing. The church moved to its new location, renaming itself "Columbia Community Church."

Later, the church reverted to its original name of Epiphany Lutheran Church and continued its community outreach as Howard County grew.

Mr. Berg, who became pastor in 1988, is continuing the tradition of service. Recent church activities include Christmas caroling to shut-ins and children's programs. In addition to regular worship and Christian education, Mr. Berg makes weekly visits to Vantage House to lead church services and Bible studies and has joined the board for a group that aids the developmentally disabled. He is also on the staff at the Maryland Institute of Pastoral Counseling in Annapolis.

Church members and Mr. Berg would like to extend the invitation to all interested to attend the celebration. Call the pastor at 730-6626 for further information.


Think of a rainy winter day. Now envision four friends, who go back fifteen years, sharing a slow lunch at Cacao Lane on Main Street, Ellicott City. That was Tuesday afternoon last week. With me were old friends Eve Belschner, with whom I started a produce cooperative in 1981; Nancy Plenge, whose teen-age children played with mine while they were too young for nursery school; and Sally Bright, whose daughter April played with my son Nathan while they were at Rockland Elementary School, now the Arts Center.

The talk flew fast, ranging from the concerns of Main Street businesses to St. John's Nursery School to the latest at the Historic Commission to news at Mount Hebron High. My future columns will, I hope, reflect the richness of the conversation. (And let's not wait another ten years before we eat lunch together again!)

Sally Bright, member of the Friends of the Patapsco Female Institute, told me that after many years of groundwork, final bids are now being accepted on the permanent stabilization of the Institute's walls.

The story began in 1964, when the idea was revived to re-create the garden and park at the once beautiful grounds of the Female Institute. The structure itself, also used as a hospital and nursing home after the Institute's demise, was found to be too unstable to be safe. The National Park Service footed the bill for temporary wood stabilizing, now five years old and again considered unsafe.

The county government and Maryland Historical Trust will pay the sizable cost of final stabilization. Permanent stabilizing will not only make the structure sound but also will provide walkways, accessible ramps, and decks to allow historical interpretation for visitors. The ruins' walls can provide a natural amphitheater for artistic endeavors such as concerts and drama, as well as a beautiful spot at which to hold a wedding.

County garden clubs have plans for historical rehabilitation of the once terraced gardens using roses and other plants popular in the Victorian era.

The site also is important to archaeologists, as over 50,000 artifacts have been found on the grounds. It is hoped that the site can serve as a teaching laboratory in the future. The Friends of the Patapsco Female Institute always welcome new members and seek people for a speakers' bureau and fund-raising and education committees. They also need any historical information that county residents might possess on the Institute, especially information on its use in this century. Sources for Victorian-era plants also are needed. If you are interested in learning more about the Friends, please call president Paula Brown at 489-4409.


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