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A weekend of local history

September 16, 2004

If history is your cup of tea, you'll get to indulge in a potful of it this weekend, as two local groups put on events that will provide both education and celebration.

On Friday and Saturday, Sept. 17 and 18, the Sharpsburg Historical Society will offer "Sharpsburg History Days" in partnership with the Forest Glen Commonwealth, a nonprofit group that promotes historic preservation and the study of history.

The event commences with a lecture at Christ Reformed Church in Sharspburg on Friday at 7:30 p.m. That's when the Rev. David C. Baker will speak on "Spiritual Ministries of the Civil War."

According to materials provided by the Forest Glen Commonwealth, the Rev. Baker, the chaplain at the Western Maryland Hospital Center, will speak about the role of chaplains during the Civil War.

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Not only did they counsel soldiers and comfort the wounded, but they often read letters from home to illiterate soldiers and wrote replies for them.

On Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., there will be walking tours of the town and exhibits relating to Sharpsburg history and Civil War art.

After what Sharpsburg endured recently with the Ku Klux Klan march, this event should offer a welcome antidote to all of the ill feelings stirred up by that unfortunate incident.

Then on Sunday, Sept. 19, Christ's Reformed United Church of Christ at 130 W. Franklin St. in Hagerstown will begin the celebration of its 150th anniversary year.

Formed in 1854 by a group from Zion Evangelical and Reformed Church on Hagerstown's North Potomac Street, the church recently took the lead in providing a permanent home for the REACH cold-weather homeless shelter in the old Cannon Shoe factory.

The celebration begins at 9 a.m. with a service at Zion, followed by a procession along West Franklin Street to the fire company, the first site of the new congregation. Then, all will proceed to the present church site.

We recommend both events to those who want a deeper understanding of how Washington County's past shaped its present.

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