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Church marking 50th anniversary next month

October 30, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

HALFWAY - Unlike many churches marking milestones in the hundreds of years, a number of the charter members of the Church of the Holy Trinity will actually be around to celebrate their congregation's 50th anniversary next month.

"I still have my charter dated Nov. 4, 1956," said William Wolford, who is working on the plans for the upcoming observance. "It came rolled and tied with a ribbon."

Fellow charter member Bob Bloyer said the "new" congregation was a mission church beginning with some members from both Zion and Christ's Reformed United Churches of Christ in Hagerstown.

Bloyer, 82, who is also working on the celebration plans, said growth in the Halfway area was also a major factor for the organization of the new church.

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One of the driving forces behind the new church 50 years ago was Mark Wagner, who was then superintendent of Homewood Retirement Center. In 1956, Homewood occupied the site where St. Joseph's Catholic Church sits at Virginia Avenue and Halfway Boulevard.

The first pastor was the Rev. Don Flick, who came to Halfway with his new bride, JoAnne, to begin the new church. They are expected at the upcoming celebration.

"We first leased space in the old Lincoln Avenue School where the Halfway Volunteer Fire Co. is now," Wolford said.

The building at 17805 Oak Ridge Drive now serving the congregation was dedicated in 1958.

The church enjoyed early growth, partly because a lot of Mack Trucks workers were moving into the Oak Ridge area with their families and were looking for a church, Bloyer said.

In 1967, the members of Christ Church in Funkstown merged with the Church of the Holy Trinity. "It was like a marriage," Wolford said.

Bloyer said Church of the Holy Trinity counts Christ Church's history along with its own now.

Wolford pointed to the fact that there are no steps at the Church of the Holy Trinity. "We are truly handicapped-accessible," he said.

In touch with the community, church members are actively involved with REACH and a mission program at Lincolnshire Elementary School.

"We do mentoring, provide meals, hand out back-to-school supplies and clothing and sponsor Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners there," Bloyer said.

And the preschool sponsored by the Hagerstown Area Religious Council holds its classes at the church.

A Western Maryland Railway retiree, Bloyer says he enjoys staying active and working for his church.

Wolford, 68, was with Potomac Edison for many years and is also involved in many community and church activities.

He and Bloyer have worked closely with former Christ's Church members Jack and Jane Smith and others on the celebration planning.

Anniversary events will begin Nov. 4, with a reception for all former pastors from 4 to 6 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

The events Nov. 5 will include the special guest appearance of John Thomas, general minister/president of the United Church of Christ in the United States. Thomas will speak at the 10:15 a.m. service.

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