Dancers get into swing of things for good cause


October 31, 2002|By Lorraine Gingerich | Lorraine Gingerich,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

CHAPELGATE Career Fellowship held its fourth "Swing Dance for Sandtown" on Saturday. The event, held at the Maryland National Guard Armory in Ellicott City, raised money for New Song Urban Ministries and Sandtown Habitat for Humanity, in Baltimore.

"The event highlights the dozens of ministries that are going on in Sandtown through New Song Urban Ministries and Habitat for Humanity," said Bill Rose, a member of the fellowship who helped to organize the annual event. "[It] has evolved over the last four years into a big, citywide event."

Chapelgate Career Fellowship is a singles ministry of Chapelgate Presbyterian Church in Marriottsville.

"This neighborhood was first made famous as being one of the first Habitat for Humanity projects visited by Jimmy Carter," Rose said. "Sandtown has become a model community that inner-city developers are touting as a success story nationwide, I understand."

Rose explained that New Song began as a small church and ministry and grew along with the Habitat project.

Now, New Song Urban Ministries, led by the Rev. Thurman Williams, "has blossomed into an extraordinary ministry, offering not only church but a school, tutoring service, children's Gospel choir, job training for adults, job placement service and so much more," Rose said. "They work closely with Habitat, and together, have turned one of the biggest crime-ridden neighborhoods in Maryland into a model community."

Sandtown Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood of West Baltimore that rehabilitates and builds houses for low-income families, using volunteer labor.

The dance was attended by singles from church groups in the Baltimore-Washington area and dance enthusiasts, who took the opportunity to swing to the tunes played by disc jockey Royce White of Warrenton, Va.

White and his wife, Jody, professional dance instructors, taught basic steps at the beginning of the dance.

Bruce MacDonald and Holly Dahlman choreographed a performance and won first place in the dance contest.

"This is the first time I've ever performed," said Dahlman, who has been dancing several hours a week since 1999. "All those years, I thought I was not athletic."

Dahlman, a doctor who recommends physical exercise to her patients, said she is "practicing what I preach."

She credits Williams with helping to transform Sandtown. "It's a real calling," she said of his work in the community, adding that she is glad to "be involved in some way in supporting his ministry."

Jennifer Randall of Lanham attended the dance with her stepmother, Ann Randall. She is looking for a "Godly, Christian man," she said. This was her first opportunity to attend the swing dance, but she said she will be back next year.

"When you are in the environment of brothers and sisters in Christ you feel safe and welcome," she said. "The men are Christian and they treat you with respect."

Steven Walker traveled from Edgemere to attend the dance with his Christian singles group from Mountain Christ Church in Bel Air. Walker said he enjoyed mingling with other singles his age. He often attends Christian singles outings like this one, he said, and hopes to find a mate someday. But, he noted, he isn't actively looking.

"She'll find me," he said.

Trish Shelton of Silver Spring came with friend Elly Cohen of Burtonsville. "This is good fellowship," Shelton said. These dances provide singles a place to socialize, but aren't matchmaking venues, she said.

"I don't think you're going to meet your husband [here]. It's just for singles to get out and be around other singles," said Shelton. She hopes to attend next year's dance, as does Dahlman.

"It gets better and better every year, " Dahlman said. "I really consider this an awesome investment in what they do."

Church bazaar

If you like homemade crafts and food, you won't want to miss the "Bazaar of the Churches" from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in the Lisbon Volunteer Fire Company hall.

Four churches - Calvary Lutheran, Lisbon United Methodist, Shepherd of the Glen Lutheran, and Saint Paul's Episcopal - will combine efforts to present one large sale. A silent auction, raffles and a children's grab bag are planned. Crafts, books, flowers, nuts, homemade cheese balls, jellies, baked goods, almond toffee and other candies will be for sale.

The Lisbon Ladies Auxiliary will serve lunch, so you can stay for as many hours as you like.

Information: Puzz Brightwell, 410-489-4447.


River Hill High School junior Jordan Long has been selected to participate in the National Youth Leadership Forum on Defense, Intelligence and Diplomacy (NYLF/DID) that runs through Sunday in Washington.

NYLF/DID gives high school juniors and seniors a chance to explore leadership opportunities in government service. Since 1992, the six-day program has introduced students to careers in fields such as national security, intelligence and the diplomatic corps.

Jordan was chosen based on her academic achievement and her interest in a career related to national security.

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