Election luncheon an Emory tradition


November 09, 1998|By Sally Voris | Sally Voris,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

CORNBALLS ON Election Day?

Yes, indeed.

The women of Emory United Methodist Church have prepared a fall luncheon -- including old-fashioned deep-fried treats -- on Election Day for more than 40 years.

This year's luncheon was held in the basement of the church, where 20 to 25 seniors gather each day in the space, which is also used by the Ellicott City Senior Center.

Some of those folks created the fall silk arrangements in flower pots that graced the tables and potpourri balls that hung from the lights.

Other seniors worked in the kitchen.

The sounds of conversations among diners of all ages and the clatter of dishes reverberated from the ornate pressed-tin ceiling and the linoleum floor.

Two pupils who were off school for the big day -- David Blood and Charlie Coleman -- collected lunch tickets.

Charlie, 10, placed a large lettuce leaf on the plates, and David, 12, scooped a large helping of homemade chicken salad from a stainless-steel bowl half-covered with aluminum foil. Britany Guarnera, 11, served food.

Earlier that morning, ladies of the church congregated in the kitchen to assemble the chicken salad. They made the homemade potato salad the evening before.

The cornballs -- powdered with confectioner's sugar -- were served hot and fresh.

Roberta Davis sat with her daughter, Lynn Gibbons, and her granddaughter, Kelsey Gibbons.

Lynn Gibbons described how she and her daughter had surprised "Pop" -- Kelsey's grandfather -- by bringing him lunch while he was working at the polls.

Among the guests were Margaret and Clarence Owens. Margaret Owens, nee Burgess, the unofficial church historian, was raised as a member of Emory United.

Davis said that when she began going to Emory United, "there were Burgesses by the dozen."

The church will hold a Thanksgiving Homecoming Service Nov. 22.

Two concerts are planned for December. The first, on Dec. 6, will feature the Alleluias; the second, on Dec. 12, will present the Nightingales, a women's vocal group.

The Alleluias -- a group of about 40 community members -- practice weekly.

It grew out of the Howard County Interfaith Choir, which performed at Christmas and Easter.

Some choir members wanted to sing throughout the year, so they formed the Alleluias.

The group sings the entire spectrum of Christian music, member Bertie Spencer says.

The current program features old standard hymns. The group sings in four-part harmony. The men dress in tuxedos; the women in black with pearls.

Information: Janie Moore, 301-498-4543.

The Nightingales was created last year when Karen Leaf, the Emory United Methodist Church secretary, received a call from Southern Living magazine.

She was asked if the church was doing anything special for Ellicott City's Midnight Madness event on the first Friday in December. Leaf passed the question to church organist Lois Hunter.

Hunter responded spontaneously. "Yes," she said. "We're having the Carillons, Carols and Nightingales."

Hunter, delighted, began planning a concert to fit the description.

As accompanist for many local soloists, Hunter asked some of them to sing for the newly created event.

She arranged to have the church's carillon played, too.

Now Hunter, Gail Phillips Smith, Lisa Thompson, Karen Morrell, Jeannie Cutter, Amy Eads, Karen Brown and Pat Barnes -- all Ellicott City residents -- are members of the Nightingales. They practice Saturday mornings at the church.

This year, the group will perform a Christmas concert in the church featuring traditional carols and intricate choral music.

In the church will be a large tree covered with Christmas decorations made by more than 90 churchwomen and two banners made by member Millie Owens.

The concert, Hunter said, will represent "Americana at its best."

"It's not a 'McChurch'; it's a real church," Hunter said.

She noted the commitment with which the congregation engages in "inventive parking" in narrow Ellicott City streets.

Hunter began coming to Emory about eight years ago.

An indication of the church's rich community life is the original oil paintings of religious scenes in the lobby.

They were created by an art class organized by Virginia Hazel -- an artist who grew up in Angelo's Castle, a historic Ellicott City home overlooking the Patapsco River.

The class has met in the church space for more than 30 years.

Hazel, 92, has moved away to live with her daughter.

The pastor, the Rev. L. Katherine Moore, was assigned to Emory United in July 1997. She says it has been a good match.

As a history major in college, Moore feels at home in a church that dates to 1837.

Standing in the sanctuary of the granite church, with its beautiful stained-glass windows, Moore says she sometimes imagines how soldiers would have come into the church to pray before they went into battle.

It is a large, quiet space filled with lively fellowship.

Information: 410-465-6162.

Successful volunteers

Dorcus Zoller organized the antiques show held at St. John's Episcopal Church in Ellicott City Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.