'Healing' service to honor AIDS victims

RELIGION NOTES

June 23, 1995|By Reported by Frank P. L. Somerville

In 10 years as pastor of St. Mark's Lutheran Church at 1900 St. Paul St., the Rev. Dale W. Dusman has officiated at five funerals there for members of his congregation who died of acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

He also has taken part in such services elsewhere.

"These have been emotional, tragic experiences for St. Mark's, and the deaths have been especially difficult for the families because of the stigma," the pastor said. That is why he decided to combine a service of healing with a ceremony dedicating a work of art at 2 p.m. Sunday at St. Mark's.

The art is a mosaic measuring 3 feet by 4 feet, containing more than 8,000 pieces of colored glass. It depicts the traditional winged, haloed lion symbolic of St. Mark, holding an open book with the Latin inscription, "Pax Tibi Marce Evangelista Meus." It means "Peace to you, Mark, my evangelist."

The mosaic was created by Baltimore artist and art teacher Rick Shelley.

"The beautiful and fitting acquisition will be a memorial to members and friends of St. Mark's who have died of AIDS," said Mr. Dusman, who is president of the Charles North Community Association.

"All are welcome," the pastor said of his church and of Sunday's dedication.

Information: 752-5804.

Greek emergency:

International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), with its headquarters in Baltimore, has issued an appeal for money to purchase tents, blankets and food for victims of the earthquake that struck Egion, a seaside resort in western Greece, on June 15.

The early-morning quake flattened a five-story hotel and wrecked a block of apartments, about half of the town in the North Peloponnese 90 miles west of Athens. At least 16 people died in the wreckage, 10 people are missing and 80 were injured, said IOCC spokesman Alexander G. Rondos.

The overall needs of the people of Egion in this crisis still were being determined yesterday, Mr. Rondos said.

"The earthquake in Egion came a month after the quake in Kozani and Grevena," he said. "These two communities are still recovering from their disaster, which left 10,000 people homeless."

The IOCC staff in Athens is making "final assessments of needs" and will "implement assistance immediately for both the people of Egion and the residents of Kozani-Grevena," Mr. Rondos said.

Donations, marked "Greece Emergency Fund," should be sent to P.O. Box 630225, Baltimore 21263-0225, he said. IOCC is the humanitarian agency of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas.

Information: 243-9820.

Jewish response:

The Franciscan Center in Baltimore was one of the beneficiaries of recent grants totaling $800,000 by Mazon, a national Jewish organization working to alleviate hunger around the world, Rabbi Mark G. Loeb has announced.

Rabbi Loeb of Pikesville's Beth El Congregation is board chairman of Mazon. The name comes from the Hebrew word for "food."

The grant of $5,000 to the Franciscan Center went toward the salary of a food pantry coordinator. Other beneficiaries in Maryland included CASA of Maryland in Takoma Park, which received $8,000 for its food distribution program, and Bethesda Cares, which received $5,000 for general support.

Since its founding in 1986, Mazon has given nearly $9.4 million to emergency feeding programs, food banks, advocacy groups for the poor, other organizations providing food, shelter and counseling, and international relief and development projects, Rabbi Loeb said.

More than 720 synagogues of the various branches of Judaism have joined Mazon as partners, he said. Some 35,000 contributions were received in 1994.

Information: 484-1935.

Missionary honor:

Charles C. Counselman Jr., a retired Baltimore insurance executive living in Naples, Fla., has been awarded the Order of the Chasqui, a gold medal suspended from a red and white ribbon, for his philanthropy on behalf of Roman Catholic missionary activities among the poor in Peru.

The award was presented last month by the Rev. Gary McCloskey, vice president of St. Thomas University in Miami. Mr. Counselman and his wife, Catherine, have traveled extensively in South America.

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