Religious Council strives to promoote brotherhood

September 14, 2007|By MARLO BARNHART

In the one year since the Hagerstown Area Religious Council was forged from the former Washington County Council of Churches (HARC), a lot of work has been focused on strengthening and expanding the organization.

In 2007, HARC officially took over sponsorship of the Interfaith Community Thanksgiving Eve Service and continues to work closely with the Interfaith Council to sponsor opportunities for interfaith sharing and education.

Under the new leadership of the Rev. Richard Jewell, HARC is working on a major project in 2007-08 that will attempt to better educate the local congregations, as well as the larger community, on the current refugee resettlement efforts in Washington County.

"This is a very timely topic in light of the ongoing national debates on immigration and homeland security," Jewell said.

The transformation began in 2006 under the leadership of the Rev. Stephen Robison.

The change in names did away with any confusion related to ministerial groups in other areas of the county outside Hagerstown, Jewell said. And it was a more accurate reflection of the group, which is composed of representatives not only of Christian churches, but of the Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu religions.


The organization is not limited to clergy, but welcomes any religious professional or interested lay person, Jewell said.

Jewell is the senior pastor of John Wesley United Methodist Church, and leads the group's executive board, which is made up of clergy and lay professionals of various faiths.

HARC meets on the third Wednesday of every month from September through May. The meetings are from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at Otterbein United Methodist Church at Franklin and Locust streets.

Meetings provide a forum for community groups to make presentations to the religious community and to provide the opportunity for its members for fellowship and to work together on community and global issues.

For more information on HARC, call Jewell at 301-733-0391 or send an e-mail to

Diversification fueled by language, doctrine

Washington County is home to about 200 houses of worship, with diversification fueled by language or doctrine or both.

Among the congregations worshipping in the area are:

Congregation B'nai Abraham

53 E. Baltimore St., Hagerstown. For information, call 301-733-5039.

Gateway Ministries

Md. 63 at Kemps Mill Road, Williamsport. Spanish services Saturday at 6 p.m. For information, call 301-582-4595 or go to

St. Mark's Episcopal Church

Lappans Road, Boonsboro, each Sunday at 12:30 p.m., a Romanian Orthodox service is held for St. Philothea of Arges Mission. For information, go to

Zion Assembly of God

13814 Village Mill Drive in Maugansville, Russian services Sundays at 2 p.m. For more information about the Russian language services, call 301-739-3888 or 301-733-3790.

Hagerstown Latino Church of the Nazarene

141 N. Edgewood Drive, Hagerstown. Latino services are held Sundays at 1:30 p.m. Services are in Spanish. For information, call 301-797-4524.

Iglesia Adventista del Septimo Dia

(Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church), 17805 Sherman Ave., Hagerstown. For information, call 240-601-5623.

Virginia Avenue Baptist Church

17426 Virginia Ave., Hagerstown, Servicios en Espanol Domingo, Sundays, 7 p.m.

The Islamic Society of Western Maryland

2036 Day Road, Hagerstown. For information, call 301-797-0922

Living Water Church of Hagerstown

Korean Baptist Church, 20716 Lehman's Mill Road. For information, call the Rev. Yang Sook Lee at 301-797-0611.

St. Catherine's Eastern Orthodox Church

433 Liberty St., Hagerstown. For information, call 301-790-2616

Tibetan Meditation Center

9301 Gambril Park Road, Frederick, Md. For information, call 301-473-5750 or 301-977-2228; or the Drikung Mahayana Center in Potomac, Md., at 240-238-1903.

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