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Minister seeks new direction for pastor

March 16, 1997

By JENNYLYNN BROWN

Staff Writer

When the Rev. Anthony Carr graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky., in 1995, the bishops of the United Methodist church could have placed him anywhere in the Baltimore-Washington area.

They chose to send him to Asbury again - this time, Asbury United Methodist church.

"It was my first full-time appointment, so I had a lot to learn about the day-to-day activities of the church," Carr said.

Carr said his focus back then was not to make changes, but to learn about his new congregation.

As the church approaches its 175th anniversary on April 2, Carr has a new direction in mind: outreach.

"We have to do ministry in different ways if we're going to stay relevant as a church," Carr said. "We're going to have to do new things."

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So Wednesdays at 5 p.m., the Girl Scouts will meet at the church. And Thursdays at 4 p.m., tutoring begins. Carr is also recruiting adults to lead a Cub Scout troop.

"We're working on more lively worship services and doing more with music, to get some hand-clappin'," Carr said.

He said that Asbury needs to get the "married with children crowd" and baby boomers back into the church.

Most of Asbury's members are between 65 and 75, the Charles Street resident said.

"They give me a tradition,'' said Carr, 28. "I get a deeper understanding of faith as I learn from their journeys and walks with God.

"I just had to realize there was a generation gap. Ministers used to do everything in a church. Now, we're all in the ministry together."

"TV has changed them,'' said Carr, who earned master's degrees in both divinity and youth ministry. "Music has changed them. Young people don't take issues of faith at face value anymore.''

Carr is on the Board of Directors of both the Community Housing Resource Board and Bethel Gardens.

He tutors at Fountaindale Elementary School. On Tuesdays, he helps young people in the Police Athletic League's self-esteem program.

"Sometimes, the schedule feels like it's 24 hours a day," said Carr, who takes time each day to work out at the YMCA. "Ministry is not something you can go home and it's over with. You're always a pastor - even on those calls at 1 and 2 a.m."

Carr, originally from Adelphi, Md., said that there is hope for Hagerstown.

"Coming from the metro area, I see that Hagerstown has so much potential as a community to be better than it already is," he said.

"As black people in Hagerstown, we should not be afraid of the community at large and self segregate, but become part of the community. Allow our voices to be heard. Know our history. And contribute."

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