Husband-wife team to be installed at First Unitarian


March 03, 1995|By Reported by Frank P. L. Somerville

The first husband-and-wife team of ministers at Baltimore's historic First Unitarian Church will be installed at 7 p.m. Sunday in the 177-year-old sanctuary at Charles and Franklin streets.

During the service, to which the public is invited, the congregation and the new co-ministers -- the Rev. John Parker Manwell and his wife, the Rev. Phyllis LeNoir Hubbell -- will pledge themselves "to openness, diversity and welcome to all people, whatever their color, gender, sexual orientation, age or religious belief."

Music will be provided by the Monumental Brass group and a gospel choir from All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, where Baltimore's new Unitarian Universalist ministers were once members.

The Rev. Robert Eller-Isaacs, co-minister of First Unitarian Church in Oakland, Calif., will speak at the service about his experience with inner-city ministries and the problems of the homeless.

The public also is invited to a concert in the landmark church at 8 o'clock tonight, scheduled partly to celebrate the installation of Mr. Manwell and Ms. Hubbell and partly to benefit Movable Feast, an organization that provides meals to homebound AIDS patients.

The concert will feature the New Wave Singers of Baltimore, guitarist Scott MacLeod, blues singer Mimi Bailey, musicians Herb Merrick and Bill Young and the church choir under the direction of organist James Houston. Information: 685-2330.

The co-ministers have been working with members of the First Unitarian congregation since September to "renew its vision," as proclaimed on a banner over the Franklin Street entrance portico.

The team had careers as lawyers in Washington before studying for the ministry. They later held separate pastorates in Canada.

The Baltimore church, designed by noted architect Maximilian Godefroy, was built two years after the 1817 founding of the congregation.

A National Historic Landmark, it is the oldest church in the nation built for Unitarians and in continuous use since its dedication.

Its first minister was Jared Sparks, who left to become president of Harvard University.

Early Unitarians included Enoch Pratt, George Peabody and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Jesuit prayers:

The 139th annual Novena of Grace at St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church, 740 N. Calvert St., will begin at 12:10 p.m. tomorrow and continue daily through March 12.

The traditional novena prayers for the intercession of St. Francis Xavier will be recited at the same time on seven of the nine days. The exceptions are the two Sundays -- this Sunday and March 12 -- when they will be recited after the 10 a.m. Mass. Information: 727-3848.

Faiths cooperating:

The Baltimore Hebrew Congregation Sisterhood's 35th annual Interfaith Institute, which will explore "The Path to Values: America's Moral Challenge," is scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Monday at the temple, 7401 Park Heights Ave.

Speakers and panelists will include the Rev. Marvis P. May, pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church; Sister Rosemarie Nassif, president of the College of Notre Dame of Maryland; Rabbi Ira Schiffer of Beth Am Congregation; Rabbi Daniel Weiner of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation and Joseph R. L. Sterne, editor of the editorial pages of The Sun.

Information: 764-1587.

Women at prayer:

From 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. today, 33 churches and chapels in the Baltimore metropolitan area -- representing at least 17 religious denominations -- have scheduled services intended to unite the worshipers spiritually with Christian women in 170 countries.

The annual ecumenical participation by Protestants and Roman Catholics in the World Day of Prayer is sponsored by Church Women United of Greater Baltimore. The prayers this year have been written by women in Ghana on the theme, "The Earth Is a House for All People."

Information: 889-0002 or 252-3073.

Lenten ecumenism:

A series of 12:30 p.m. Lenten services at Trinity Episcopal Church, 120 Allegheny Ave. in Towson, on Thursdays, led by clergy of neighboring congregations, will begin March 9, when the guest preacher will be the Rev. Walter Simmons of St. Margaret's Episcopal Church.

Information: 823-3588.

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