Old chapel to gain modern amenities St. Andrew's calls it home

May 24, 1993|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff Writer

St. Andrew's Church of Glenwood celebrated the start of a construction project yesterday that will provide some basic 20th century amenities as the congregation builds for the 21st century.

The Episcopal parish in western Howard County commemorated an "ending and a beginning," breaking ground on an addition to the 160-year-old Union Chapel, a one-room meeting house that lacks indoor plumbing, central heat and meeting space for religious classes and church leaders.

"It's the ending of a long period of wait and anticipation for something better for the future," Allen Douglas, chairman of the church's mission board, told about 60 parishioners after services. "It's the beginning of a new life with a better facility and new hope for the future."

Since 1980, St. Andrew's has been meeting at Union Chapel as a tenant of Union Chapel's board of trustees, a self-perpetuating body established by deed in 1833. The St. Andrew's congregation and churches that have supported its mission have been an integral part of the restoration of Union Chapel, which is listed as a national historical landmark.

The chapel at Route 97 and Union Chapel Road became one of the first Methodist churches in the area, but was abandoned in the mid-1950s and began to deteriorate. St. Peter's parish of Ellicott City began work to establish a mission congregation for western Howard County at Union Chapel in 1976 and helped renovate the building, which had no electricity.

St. John's Episcopal Church of Ellicott City has sponsored St. Andrew's since 1985, when St. Peter's withdrew support. St. John's goal is to see St. Andrew's become self-sufficient "so people who want to find a community of faith in the western part of the county can find this," said the Rev. William Shiflet, rector of St. John's.

The parish has about 100 member families, said Mr. Douglas.

The 900-square-foot addition also will be available for community use. The chapel's founders intended the facility to be used by either religious congregations or community groups.

The project, which also will include renovations to the existing chapel, is estimated at $175,000, said Warren Sargent, president of the chapel's board of trustees.

"We hope the new building will become much more usable for the community," said Mr. Sargent.

St. Andrew's member Diann Vechery of Woodbine said she is looking forward to having space for Sunday school and other educational activities at Union Chapel.

Currently, children attend religious classes at a day-care center down the road.

She said she likes the atmosphere of a small, local church.

"This church is our community. That's why we joined," she said. "We looked around for a neighborhood church, and this is it. It's home."

St. Andrew's music director Alison Matuskey of Highland said the project is "very symbolic of expanding and growing. It's exciting to start a new project."

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