Sunday's interfaith service, literacy and movies downtown

September 09, 2002|by BOB MAGINNIS

The Interfaith Coalition of Washington County has an ambitious plan for tomorrow's service, scheduled for 4 p.m. at St. John's Lutheran Church at 141 S. Potomac St. in Hagerstown.

The group, formed after the Sept. 11 attack to promote communication and understanding between those of different faiths, hopes to do the following tomorrow:

"To bear witness to peace and mutual respect to all people desiring to discover the mystery of God that brings unity and understanding to the human family in the midst of tragedy."

This will be the group's fourth public event. It began with a program on interfaith issues that drew hundreds to th Kepler Theater at Hagerstown Community College this past April 11.


That was followed by a smaller session at Frostburg's downtown center and a picnic at the Camp Harding county park. For some whose jobs don't bring them into regular contact with those of different faiths and cultures, it has been an enlightening experience.

On Sunday, according to Pastor Ed Poling of the Hagerstgown Church of the Brethren, the service will include hymns, prayers, readings and spoken reflections from the Jewish, Muslim and Christian traditions.

If you can't attend Sunday, another event is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. at the Frostburg Center. This one is a bit different, Poling said, because it's not about how the faiths differ, but about how to listen to people.

Entitled "Learning to Listen with Your Heart," Poling said it will be presented by Anne Jenny, who's been trained in conflict resolution and mediation.

Sunday's event is co-sponsored by the Washington County Council of Churches. For more information about it, call Pastor Ed Heim at 301-790-2510. For information about the Oct. 22 event on conflict resolution, call Poling at 301-733-3565.

Sunday is also International Literacy Day, held to highlight the problem of illiteracy around the world, where the International Reading Association estimates that 875 million adults cannot read.

A group called Literacy Volunteers estimates that in America 17 percent of all Americans cannot read well enough to figure out directions on a map, complete a job application or read a bed-time story to a child.

There are organizations that help adults learn to read, but parents who can read need to start doing so with their children as early as possible, then continue to reinforce the habit.

Here at The Herald-Mail we do it through a program called Newspapers In Education, where newspapers are used in the classroom, along with curriculum guides we provide, to teach lessons on current events and much more.

This coming Monday, schools that ordered them will get today's Herald-Mail, completed with the special section entitled "140th Commemoration of the Battle of Antietam."

For information on how you can support the program, call 301-733-5131, ext. 2433.

Hagerstown Councilwoman Penny Nigh's birthday was this past Thursday, but instead of getting a present, she gave some out. Nigh delivered two large cakes to City Hall and the Hagerstown Police Department so that every employee could have a piece. I've heard about politicians who hold feeds, but never about one who made deliveries. Happy birthday, councilwoman.

On Friday, Sept. 13 and Saturday, Sept. 14, the Maryland Theatre will show a documentary entitled "Black Confederates: Forgotten Men in Gray."

Done by Stan Armstrong of Desert Rose Productions of Las Vegas, its appearance here was booked because of the Battle of Antietam re-enactment planned for that weekend. However, Pat Wolford, executive director of the theater, said she's been informed that there will be no shuttle buses from the site to downtown.

That's a shame, because someone from Hollywood might have seen the potential for turning downtown into a semi-permanent movie set.

Now-empty storefronts could be renovated and instead of renting to retail tenants, who've left for the malls, owners could rent to movie companies. And the streets could be closed off during filming, just like they do during the Blues Fest.

Even those tree stumps, which were full-grown specimens until earlier this year, could be converted into hitching posts if Westerns ever make a comeback. I can see it now.

Bob Maginnis is editorial page editor of The Herald-Mail newspapers.

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