Church's celebration leader attends event only in spirit

September 06, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

SMITHSBURG - As the chair of the worship committee at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Carolyn Poffenberger and her committee worked really hard on the 175th anniversary celebration, which began Sunday.

It's just a shame she wasn't going to get to see any of it.

Poffenberger had a hip replacement Aug. 30. She came through the procedure well but will be laid up for a few weeks.

"We started meeting about six months ago," Poffenberger said. The committee included the Rev. Mark Mooney, his wife, Debbie, Barbara Buckler and Tricia Heydt.

The hope was to do something really special to commemorate this milestone of the church. And Poffenberger said she believes everyone would be be pleased with the results.


Sunday's date, Sept. 3, coincided exactly with the date in 1831 when the Rev. Henry C. Smith - the congregation's first pastor - set the cornerstone.

The church at 51 S. Main St. was rebuilt after an 1867 storm, remodeled and added to many times through the years.

The Rev. John Rudisill Jr., district superintendent, was to speak at the 9:30 a.m. service Sunday which was to include communion, the reading of letters and visits from former pastors who have served the church.

A catered celebration luncheon in Catherine Hall was to follow, including ham and turkey with all the trimmings plus homemade desserts made by ladies of the church, Poffenberger said.

Today, the 7 p.m. evening worship is scheduled to welcome a former church member, the Rev. Dennis Jackman. The service will also include praise singing and the signing choir of Christ United Methodist Church of the Deaf in Baltimore.

A spaghetti dinner will precede that service, Poffenberger said.

Then on Sunday, Sept 10, another former church member, the Rev. Ira Barr of Arbutus United Methodist Church, will be sharing the Word during the church's 9:30 a.m. worship.

Poffenberger's committee planned a time of light refreshments for that day's rally day celebration marking the beginning of new Sunday school year.

"It's all about celebration," Poffenberger said. "Then we decided on mementos which include Christmas ornaments and pictures of the church which will be sold," she said.

The work she put in on this committee was a labor of love for Poffenberger, who joined the church in 1990 when she and her husband, John, first moved to the Smithsburg area.

"Joining a church is a good way to get to know people in the town," Poffenberger said. "You quickly learn that everyone is important ... everyone has a role."

To illustrate that point, Poffenberger said she was heading to the church to fill the salt and pepper shakers and make sure there was an extension cord available for the all-important coffeemaker for this Sunday.

That she was doing all that on the day before her hip replacement surgery was unimportant to her.

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