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Church youth group celebrates love with Valentine's Day dinner and dance

February 17, 2008|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI

WILLIAMSPORT -- Love.

It is in the smiles of a young couple out for a night of dinner and dancing.

It is in the warmth of a mother's gaze as she watches her young son discovering the joy of slurping spaghetti.

It is in the exuberant song and dance of teenage girls proclaiming "Hallelujah! It's raining men!"

It is in the affectionate touch of an older couple, both widowed, rediscovering the art of dating.

Love, of all these types and more, was the theme of the night Saturday at the Valentine Dinner and Dance at Williamsport United Methodist Church.

The Rev. Marcia Mayor, pastor of the church, said the church is known for having dinners at the table "the same way Jesus did when he visited neighbors and friends."

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"We call it table fellowship. You make friends by breaking bread together," Mayor said. "It's especially appropriate on Valentine's Day because it's a celebration of love, and God is love."

Candlelight, red table coverings and red heart décor lent Fellowship Hall a romantic ambiance.

Don and Deborah Rogers, 56 and 54, of Frederick, Md., attended the dance after hearing about it through friends. Deborah Rogers was aptly dressed in a red sequined top.

"We came for the food and dancing," she said.

"It's a nice change of atmosphere," said Albert Carrasquillo, 47, of Martinsburg, W.Va. Carrasquillo went to the event with his wife, Deborah, 44.

Shirley Logue of Halfway said she had been to a dinner at the church in the past.

"It was a lot of fun, so I brought him tonight," Logue said, fondly referring to her date, Ralph Cunningham, 70, of Hagerstown.

The dinner and dance was a fundraiser for the church's youth ministry, which is directed by Bill and Diana Church. Tickets were $10 each and about 100 people attended. Diana Church said people have responded well to similar events in the past. She anticipated the Valentine dinner and dance would raise about $500 toward summer youth activities, possibly including a retreat.

Dave Moyer, 58, of Fairplay, is a member of the church. Besides attending the event with his wife, Jeanni, Dave Moyer volunteered as DJ and led karaoke entertainment.

"I think it's a great social event," Jeanni Moyer said. "It gets people here talking. It's good fellowship and a lot of fun."

"And hopefully we'll get some new members for the church," Dave Moyers added.

In addition to serving spaghetti dinners, members of the youth group provided entertainment, singing and dancing to an assortment of love songs.

"I don't even think of it as a fundraiser," said Katie Brown, 14, of Hagerstown. "It's just having fun, getting together and enjoying ourselves."

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