Marley Park church adds `Saturday Night Light' option


August 04, 1999|By Donna Koros Stramella | Donna Koros Stramella,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

MARLEY PARK Church of the Nazarene leaders know that formal worship services are not for everyone, so this year the church added another option to its weekend schedule: "Saturday Night Light."

Held every Saturday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., the casual service includes a video, contemporary praise music by a seven-piece band and a short sermon. A coffee bar is open during the evening.

"We want to provide an alternative to the regular Sunday morning service," said spokesman Ed Salmons. "Some people don't like a traditional service."

The services have been running for several months now, and associate pastor, the Rev. Matthew Haggard, said he is seeing new faces. "We're seeing single parents, families and even some elderly people who enjoy the beat of the music," he said.

The church is on Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard near Marley Middle School. Information: 410-768-1852.

Animal rescuers

I recently found a mother cat and her four kittens living in our backyard woodpile. My youngest daughter quickly named the babies Socks, Pish-Posh, Cally and Creamy, and I was close to letting the family set up permanent residence in our yard when the mother cat took off.

I'm not a cat person and didn't know how to help the kittens, but I knew who did: Heaven's Gate Animal Rescue.

A Heaven's Gate volunteer coaxed the abandoned kittens from hiding. Our backyard rescue was one of thousands the group has made, but it needs help to continue the work. There just aren't enough good homes to accommodate the large numbers of stray animals.

Twenty years ago, Joanne Redelius started the nonprofit organization with a handful of volunteers. Now 40 volunteers, ranging from teens earning community service requirements for school, to accountants and attorneys who can do the books and paperwork, are involved.

"We take in the neediest of the needy in the animal world," Redelius said. The group takes in abandoned or unwanted animals, then vaccinates and spays or neuters them.

Heaven's Gate screens would-be adopters and collects a small fee to defray some costs. Fund-raisers also help bring in money. "Our vet bills usually run about $2,000 a month," Redelius said.

The founder of the group owns four dogs and three cats, all rescued. Her 6-year-old mixed retriever, Bernie, was found when it was 5 weeks old, tied to a fence and set afire. The organization keeps a photo album filled with success stories like Bernie's, now a happy, healthy dog.

Although Heaven's Gate accepts animals from throughout Maryland, as well as from parts of Washington, Virginia and Pennsylvania, most of the pets come from in and around Glen Burnie. While most rescues involve cats and dogs, the group has also helped birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, potbellied pigs and turtles. And, once, a 4-foot lizard.

The organization operates a cat adoption center in Petsmart on Ordnance Road, and it is trying to raise money to buy a small farm where animals can be housed until they are adopted. To learn more, make a donation or adopt an animal, call Redelius at 410-636-1360.

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