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Episcopal church festival invites community to celebrate 200 ye

September 10, 2006|by ERIN JULIUS

St. John's Episcopal Church is celebrating its 200th anniversary this weekend.

On Saturday, the parish held an outdoor festival, complete with the rector, Rev. Scott Bellows, getting dunked in a dunking booth.

"It's a very wonderful parish. Young, very vibrant," said Allison Edwards, a member of the congregation.

The festival was held, in part, to reach out to the neighborhood and show the community what the church has to offer, Edwards said.

"It's to get people in the neighborhood to celebrate," said Bellows.

A local band, Forgiven, blared out Christian rock songs as children got their faces painted and played in the Moon Bounce.

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Bellows said that sometimes the Episcopal Church is seen as a little to "stodgy" and "formal."

"We're hoping to help people right here in this neighborhood and downtown Hagerstown to know we're here, and this is a fun place to be," he said.

St. John's moved to its current location on South Prospect Street in 1872, and had four locations prior to that home," said Dan Meyer, who works with the church's historical ministry.

Now, the church has about 250 active families, said Bellows.

The festival did attract non-parishoners to St. John's for the afternoon.

Maretta Brown sat with her daughter, Michelle, and watched her grandson play in the Moon Bounce.

"Our religious areas are so segregated," said Brown, who attends an African Methodist Episcopal Church. "We have to spread ourselves out. We have more in common than not."

Michelle Brown said she brought her son, Brian, 5, so he could meet other children and have fun.

"It's really just about community. It takes all kinds to make us a community. We really are all one," said Maretta Brown.

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