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Churches open doors to the public

December 30, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

SMITHSBURG - Some took the tour of Smithsburg area churches Sunday to extend the holiday season and others were hoping to enjoy some good Christmas music, while a few were just enjoying the opportunity to satisfy their curiosity.

"I have enjoyed the Frederick (Md.) tour of churches before and it was very enjoyable, so I thought I would try the Smithsburg tour," said retired Hagerstown minister Robert Regenold as he visited Christ Reformed United Church of Christ in Cavetown Sunday afternoon.

Regenold said he was going to try to visit as many of the 14 churches on the tour as possible.

The tour, which was sponsored by the Smithsburg Area Church Association, lasted from 2 to 6 p.m.

At nearby Trinity Lutheran Church, volunteer greeter Pat Baer said she had welcomed more than 30 visitors to her church at 15-16 N. Main St. by 4 p.m.

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"I came at 2 and plan to stay as long as they need me," Baer said. Carol Gaines was in charge of the tour at Trinity.

A highlight at Trinity was organ music played throughout the afternoon by Cathy Wiles. It was her last day at Trinity before beginning a new job playing organ at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Hagerstown, Baer said.

Visitors were directed to printed materials about Trinity's long history (circa 1822), and the Chrismon tree that adorned the front of the sanctuary.

"There has been lots of interest in both the history and the Chrismons," Baer said.

At St. Anne's Episcopal Church, the Rev. Elaine Prince said she also had greeted about 30 visitors to her church at 9 Maple Ave. midway through the tour.

"Some are shopping, some are just curious and others just appreciate beautiful churches," Prince said.

A bonus was one young couple who told Prince they might be interested in joining the church.

A brochure explained to visitors that St. Anne's was named for Anne, the mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus.

"However, our name was probably chosen originally with our benefactor, Mrs. Ann Hoye Bishop, in mind," Prince said. Until recently, St. Anne's had been listed as St. Ann's on the sign and literature of the church.

And if that wasn't interesting enough, Prince shared with visitors that St. Anne's also claims the distinction of being the church where former President Lyndon Johnson worshipped not once, but twice during the 1960s while he was at nearby Camp David.

Gail and David Smith of Mapleville started their afternoon tour at Christ Reformed in Cavetown, along with friends Carol and Walt Little, Rohrersville residents.

"Gail and I are both Sunday school teachers so we were hoping to see what kinds of crafts other churches do to get ideas," said Carol Little.

Greeter Phyllis Lewis said she has been going to the Cavetown church since she was 4 years old and was more than happy to show it off to visitors.

Another retired minister, Elgar Soper, said he was impressed that the Cavetown church was so old - 175 years and counting.

"I just like to see how others do things," Soper said as he continued his tour.

Other churches on the tour Sunday were St. Paul's Lutheran, Leitersburg; Mt. Moriah Lutheran; Ringgold Church of Christ; Mt. Bethel United Methodist; Welty Church of the Brethren; St. Peter's (Beard's) Lutheran; Smithsburg Valley Baptist; St. Paul's Lutheran, Greensburg Road; Bethel United Methodist in Chewsville; Mt. Pleasant Church of God; and St. Paul's United Methodist.

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