W.Va. church service honors veterans

June 23, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - The Covenant Baptist Church in Shepherdstown, W.Va., celebrated the spirit of the Fourth of July Sunday night in four services attended by more than 800 people.

In a program combining a play, music, dancing and slides, the church honored the nation's history and local veterans.

"This is a young church and we wanted to have a way of reaching an older generation," said Terry Crawford, the youth minister who also portrayed Thomas Jefferson in the play.

The church on Flowing Springs Road was started 11 years ago in a member's home and moved to its present site nine years ago.


Now the church holds four worship services on Sundays to fit everyone in and has a wide-range of programs for parishioners, from a support group for recovering substance abusers support group to vacation Bible school for children, he said.

"Our basic goal is to reach people not being reached by other means," Crawford said.

By holding a Fourth of July celebration early, parishioners can celebrate the holiday with their families doing other activities, Crawford said.

Those who served in the military were called up to the stage at one point in the service and the audience gave them a standing ovation.

"I think it's very appropriate to celebrate...the defense of our liberty and freedom to worship God in the way we choose," said Pete Williams, 59, an elder at the church, who had served in the U.S. Army in peacetime.

Too many people forget the country's history, said Williams, of Shepherdstown.

"(The program) was very instructional for all of us," Williams said.

Mike Donitzen, 27, of Shepherdstown, said he did not know if the program would succeed after only one dress rehearsal.

"It's great. The people came together on the drama team and pulled this off," said Donitzen, who played Uncle Sam in the production.

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