Church to celebrate growth, timeless faith

June 09, 2000|By Jean Leslie | Jean Leslie,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The congregation of Sykesville's St. Barnabas Episcopal Church will celebrate Pentecost - the beginning of Christianity - along with most of the Christian world Sunday.

Members will celebrate the feast day of its patron saint, St. Barnabas. They will also mark the recent arrival of a new pastor, the Rev. Earl Mullins, after a long search process. And they will celebrate the church's sesquicentennial - the 150th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone of the picturesque stone church in which they worship.

With so many reasons to celebrate, church members have been planning ways to make this day memorable for more than a year. Sesquicentennial Committee Chairman Ross Brooks has developed a historical celebration that will be memorable.

"This day will be special for the entire Sykesville community," Brooks says.

St. Barnabas was built in 1850 after Sykesville resident Susanna Warfield, a member of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Eldersberg, complained of the long trip in horse and buggy. So the tiny "chapel of ease," seating about 100, was built. Eventually, Holy Trinity Church was abandoned, leaving St. Barnabas as the closest Episcopal church on the Howard-Carroll County line.

The sesquicentennial celebration Sunday will place an emphasis on St. Barnabas' long history. "We are comfortable with our past, just as we are respectful of older people," says church member Linda Greenberg.

The service, at 10 a.m., will use the 1789 Prayer Book, which was still in use in 1850, "including the arcane language," Mullins says.

Bishop Suffragan John L. Rabb of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland will officiate at the service, with Mullins assisting. The expected overflow crowd can experience the service in a tent provided with video screens and a sound system.

About a dozen members of the congregation - including Brooks, Greenberg, Carolyn Brelsford,Fred Mengers,Ellen Bitzel,Janice Delagrange,Maggie Alpach,Julia Thomas, Esther Mercer and Sharon Schwartz- will appear in 1850 dress. The Lutton family also will appear in costume, as well as Art Delagrange, who will appear as a church deacon in the 1850s.

After the service, the historic emphasis will continue in celebrations throughout the afternoon. Church members will present photographs, articles, scrapbooks and tours of the church, all fruits of research for the occasion. Two organizations - Sykesville Gate House Museum and Friends of Old Trinity Cemetery - will add their knowledge of local history.

Two sets of Percheron horses, lent for the occasion by Carroll County equestrienne Meg Smith, will pull period carriages.

Church members led by EleanorMercerwill serve a reception and an old-fashioned luncheon.

How can one small congregation find the resources to pull off such a large celebration?

"We thought of this day as a truly important occasion. So, we came up with ways we could each contribute and asked others for help," Greenberg says. "If you find people who enjoy doing just one thing that they are good at, they'll enjoy contributing."

Brooks adds, "We celebrate the past and, with Father Mullins and a congregation which is growing with the expansion of the county, we look forward to the future."

One more reason for celebration Sunday will be the expansion of the church. Rather than two services each week, Mullins will lead three services - traditional ones at 8 a.m. and 11:15 a.m., and a contemporary, family-oriented service at 9:30 a.m.

Another reason the church will celebrate is expansion - the purchase of land adjacent to the church property, with the goal of building a parish house.

"We are growing as the area grows," Mullins says.

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.