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Church outgrows man's home

October 28, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

It's not that Paul Toothman and others were unhappy with the message at the Church of Christ at Hagerstown. They say opening a new church is just their way of sharing that message with more people.

The Church of Christ in the Great Valley opened its doors in July and now boasts a steady congregation of 40 to 50 each Sunday.

"The church started out meeting at my home," Toothman said. "We outgrew that by September."

The congregation meets at the Woodmen of the World campground building on Reichard Road. Services are at 10 a.m. Sundays and at 7 p.m. Wednesdays. There is no Sunday school as yet.

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Formerly an elder at the Church of Christ at Hagerstown at 10014 White Hall Road, Toothman said the goal of establishing the new church was to reach people along the Interstate 81 corridor.

Each congregation is independent, unaffiliated with any denomination, Toothman said.

"Quite simply, we are a New Testament church which follows the Book of Acts," Toothman said. "Anyone who wants to come and follow the Lord is welcome."

While seeking unity on matters concerning salvation, the church allows room for discussion on other matters, Toothman said.

The Rev. Casey Strunk is leading the flock at the new church on a part-time basis. Strunk previously was associated with the White Hall Road church, Toothman said.

So far, most participation has been by the core group that started the church over the summer. But Toothman said there have been some visitors and a number of inquiries from interested people.

The building in which the congregation is meeting is small but adequate, Toothman said. It may become more challenging in bad weather, since the final approach to the building is on an unpaved road.

Employed by the Maryland Department of Parole and Probation in Frederick, Md., Toothman said he became involved in the new church movement because God wanted him to.

To attend services at the new church, travel to Md. 68 between the Sharpsburg and Downsville pikes. Reichard Road is south off Md. 68.

For more information, call Toothman at 301-964-2411 or Strunk at 301-730-5075. Written inquiries may be sent to Toothman at P.O. Box 1842, Hagerstown, MD 21742.

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