Church event started small, then snowballed

September 24, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

BOONSBORO - When the time came to start organizing the 175th anniversary celebration for Manor Church of the Brethren, Judy Dieterich was one of a number of church faithful who stepped up to lend her support.

"It all started when we decided to do a new photo directory in time for the anniversary," Dieterich said as she helped put the finishing touches on the event, which will be held this Sunday.

The call went out for volunteers and the project grew from that.

"One day we had a 'painting day' planned and so many people showed up, we did a lot more than just paint," she said.


That triggered a remodeling frenzy which led to more painting, remodeling and adding to a Heritage Room in the church education building adjacent to the stone church at 18511 Manor Church Road.

And then more people started coming to services and they too were volunteering to do other things in the church. The phenomenon continues to grow.

"I took on the job of publicity for the anniversary event," Dieterich said. She arranged for blurbs in several area newspapers and an item for the Town Crier, a feature on NBC25.

While some thought the photo directory wouldn't fly, the response was great, Dieterich said. "From the start, I said the photo directory should be the 175th anniversary yearbook," she said. And that's what it turned out to be.

The slick, professionally-bound yearbook sports a color painting of the church on the cover with a seal marking the years from 1829-2004.

There are portraits of members, candid shots of church activities, a section for members who didn't get their pictures taken and even a spot to add in new members as they come to join the Manor Church family.

A message from Pastor Joy Zepp and a brief history of the church is also included in the front of the yearbook.

Dieterich's penchant for volunteering goes way back in her life. Now 60, she spent a lot of time in her earlier days involved as a volunteer in her only daughter's school PTAs and Girl Scouting activities.

"I also used to make sandwiches for the band events," Dieterich said. She and her husband, Adam, who is retired from Mack Trucks, live in Clear Spring. Now that she is retired after 12 years at The Bon-Ton, Dieterich happily has more time to volunteer at the church she grew up in.

"I still do it because I love it so much," Dieterich said. "It's hard work but a joy."

The Heritage Room at the church will be open Sunday for all to see when they come over to the education wing for the luncheon which will follow the regular service. Special activities get under way at 1:30 p.m.

"Curios have been donated to the room from many sources," she said. A wooden bench from the church's early days lines one wall. There are copies of old hymnals, archival photographs and other artifacts kept over the years by members.

The 175th anniversary marks the date the stone church was first used for worship, Zepp said. The congregation actually began meeting 214 years ago, holding outdoor services on the hill where the church now stands.

Following the luncheon, the celebration gets under way in the main building of the church. There will be a number of speakers including a number of previous pastors who will join Zepp in commemorating the milestone.

The fledgling puppet ministry is putting on a special performance at the event.

Once the dust has settled from the anniversary celebration, Dieterich will resume her regular duties on the Manor Church board as well as her work with The Messenger, the Church of the Brethren national publication.

"I submit articles and make sure that all who want to get the magazine are receiving it," she said. "It's a lot of work but it's been fun."

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