Combined service furthers churches' union of spirit

NEIGHBORS

January 30, 2001|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

CELEBRATING THEIR new union of spirit, two Westminster congregations recently worshiped together at Baker Memorial Chapel at Western Maryland College.

The service, which pastors from Ascension Episcopal and Grace Evangelical Lutheran scheduled to begin the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, officially marks the local start of an agreement ratified nationally by the Episcopal and Lutheran churches last summer.

Under that agreement, Episcopal and Lutheran church policies and government will remain separate. However, each organization has agreed to recognize the ordination of the other's pastors, allowing congregations to worship together, trade ministers for special events and emergencies, and work on projects together.

FOR THE RECORD - An item in the Central Neighbors column in yesterday's Carroll County edition of The Sun incorrectly stated that a combined church service was held this month at Baker Memorial Chapel at Western Maryland College. The service was not held because of inclement weather. The Sun regrets the error.

"We recognized that we're united in everything that's essential in understanding the Christian faith," said the Rev. Ron Fisher, pastor at Ascension. "We can now share ministries and call on each other to serve at the altar."

In Westminster, this agreement began informally about two years ago when Fisher and Pastor David Helfrich of Grace heard about early talks toward the national pact. That year, both churches participated in a combined retreat and began a joint study Bible study.

Both ministers focused on the joint service, which they intended to be a seamless union of the Lutheran and Episcopal liturgies.

"Hopefully, people had a hard time knowing what came from what part of the service," Fisher said, noting both churches had canceled all services in their individual buildings to support the joint effort Jan. 21.

"In every way we can, we want to demonstrate how close this unity is. We decided that this combined service was the most appropriate thing to do," Fisher said.

Western Maryland's chapel was chosen to accommodate the large attendance, he said.

Both ministers don't intend to allow the new unity to stop with shared services, and plan to combine efforts to support downtown Westminster and its residents.

"We are both churches who have chosen to stay in downtown Westminster," Fisher said. "We want to minister to the all parts of the community, and make sure downtown is a vital and vibrant place."

Ease stress

Learn to rub away tension at Introduction to Massage, 6:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Women's Place of Carroll County General Hospital, 291 Stoner Ave., Westminster.

Certified massage therapist Karen Hunter will demonstrate basic Swedish massage and reflexology techniques during the two-hour session.

Students are asked to bring a friend and to wear comfortable clothing.

Fees are $15 and registration is required. Information: 410-848- 2244.

Marching through the month

Carroll Concert Band will present a Sousa Style Concert at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12 at Westminster High School auditorium on Washington Road.

Tickets are available at Stu's Music Shop, Coffey Music, Hess Music and Carroll County Arts Council. They are $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $2.50 for students. Family tickets are available for $10 each.

Snow date for the concert, which will benefit Shiloh Middle School and Carroll County Arts Council, is Feb. 19.

Information: 410-848-7272.

Amy L. Miller's Central neighborhood column appears Mondays in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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