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Boonsboro-area church celebrating 150 years

September 03, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

BOONSBORO - It promises to be quite a celebration on Sunday, Sept. 28, when the congregation of the Benevola United Methodist Church marks its sesquicentennial - that's 150 years!

The Rev. Helen Steiner Smith said the day will begin with a worship service at 9 a.m. in the sanctuary. Then at 10:30 a.m., the celebration will move into the adjacent Spiritual Life Center.

There the congregation will dedicate a 150th-anniversary stained-glass window, watch an original play illustrating moments in church history, hear music from The Fishermen and open a 1983 time capsule.

A catered luncheon will follow.

The historic church is at 19925 Benevola Church Road near Boonsboro.

In September 1858, the church was founded by a group of Christians who felt called to have a permanent worship place. They purchased the land and incorporated.

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The group originally met at the Harmony Hill School House. Benevola is an agrarian community between Boonsboro and Funkstown, and was the location of Singing Schools in the latter part of the 1800s.

The current sanctuary was built in 1918 and has an amphitheater-style floor plan. A stained-glass window depicting Jesus the Good Shepherd offers comfort in the worship space.

In 1995, Benevola UMC took an important step by becoming a station church, supporting a full-time minister and widening ministry opportunities.

Smith said worship, study and fellowship are central in the church's ministry for Jesus Christ. Benevola Church also is home to six active choirs offering a variety of music.

The congregation supports two missionary families through the United Methodist Church, and provides work teams and care for local, national and international outreach.

Weekly worship services are held at 9 and 11:15 a.m. Sunday school classes for all ages also are provided, along with youth fellowship, a parents night out program, families of faith, midweek study, senior lunch bunch, community oyster, turkey and ham dinners, body and soul aerobic classes, and sponsorship of Cub Scout Pack 20.

In 2003, a new Spiritual Life Center and renovations were completed, making the facility more accessible and providing new space to welcome community and provide ongoing ministries.

The mortgage for the center was burned June 1, six years after the ground was broken.

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