Religion Notes

September 21, 2007

Martin Memorial Lecture is Sept. 30

The Columbia Cooperative Ministry, an ecumenical organization of Christian churches, will present its second George W. Martin Memorial Lecture at 5 p.m. Sept. 30 at Wilde Lake Interfaith Center.

Rabbi Joshua Martin Siegel, who served as the first rabbi of the Columbia Jewish Congregation, will discuss "Inter-Religious Understanding and Cooperation for the Twenty-first Century." Siegel retired in 1997 after serving as CJC's rabbi for 25 years.

The lecture honors the memory of George Martin, who served for many years as deacon at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, and was a leader of the Columbia Cooperative Ministry.

Martin and his family were among Columbia's pioneers, said the Rev. Richard Tillman, pastor of St. John's parish. "He was really wedded to the Columbia concept."

"George was really a key person in keeping alive the interfaith spirit that was very much a part of the early days of Columbia, and so was I," Siegel said. "We both had that New York attitude about wanting to get people to work together, and he was very committed to that."

Siegel is now the official rabbi for the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church. The conference has its headquarters in Columbia.

"I teach Bible in different places to help them understand in greater depth the meaning of Torah," he said. "I'm trying to give them the depth of Torah so they can understand where they came from."

"I have another sort of gig that I do; I get invited to their churches to speak a lot," Siegel said. "I have something called `Rabbinic Christianity' - that is, I believe that if Christians would adopt the principles of authentic, Rabbinic Judaism, they would be able to renew themselves in new ways."

Siegel hopes his efforts will also help revive the interfaith spirit, specifically in Columbia.

"Interfaith has withered, and I'm trying to provide a basis in which it can renew itself in the new circumstances in which it finds itself," he said. "And a good place to do it would be Columbia, where it was so fostered in the early days."

Siegel was one of the founders of the Lubavitch Center for Jewish Education in Columbia, which opened in 1986. "He encouraged people to seek out traditional Judaism. He encouraged each person to find fulfillment in their practice of Judaism, each on their level," said Rabbi Hillel Baron of the Lubavitch Center.

"You heard the saying from Ethics of the Fathers, `Who is wise? He who learns from every person,'" Siegel said. "So I try to build bridges within Judaism and then between Jews and Christians, but it's all part of the same impetus toward unifying the one God."

After the lecture, refreshments will be served and an offering will be taken to help support the cooperative ministry's Thanksgiving Eve interfaith program, which George Martin helped to initiate.

Admission is free. The Wilde Lake Interfaith Center is at 10431 Twin Rivers Road, Columbia.

Information: 301-604-2549, or 410-730-7920 for directions.

Fay Lande

Family conference set tomorrow

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4100 St. Johns Lane, Ellicott City, will offer a free Community Conference on the Family from 9 a.m. to noon tomorrow.

Workshop topics will include improving communication in marriage, improving relationships with teenage children, avoiding and conquering debt, and Internet safety.

Everyone is welcome. Registration is not required.

Information: 443-864-8343.

Bicycles collected for needy families

The churches of Wilde Lake Interfaith Center in Columbia are collecting bicycles to be shipped to Latin America or Africa, where they will be repaired and given to needy families.

Dozens of bicycles are to be distributed to encourage economic growth.

Adult-size bicycles will be collected from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 29 at Wilde Lake Interfaith Center, 10431 Twin Rivers Road. A donation toward the shipping cost ($10 per bicycle) is requested and will be noted on the receipt for tax purposes. The churches will cover any remaining costs.

Information: Tom McCarthy, 410-869-0705, or Mark Breaux, 410-913-8364.

6 new ministers to be installed

The Columbia Center for Spiritual Living will install six newly licensed ministers at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28 at Hawthorn Center, 6175 Sunny Spring, Columbia.

The Columbia Center, formerly known as the Columbia Church of Religious Science, is affiliated with Religious Science International of Spokane, Wash. The organization's doctrine is based on the teachings of Ernest Holmes, author of the 1926 book The Science of Mind.

The group of six ministers has been licensed by Religious Science International.

Information: 410-750-8559.

Free tickets offered for High Holidays

On behalf of the Howard County Board of Rabbis, the Jewish Federation of Howard County is coordinating requests for free tickets to services during the High Holiday season for those in need who want to attend but are unaffiliated with a synagogue.

The Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, begins this evening.

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