Keedysville church makes a joyful noise to raise money for storm-damaged church

October 06, 2008|By ERIN JULIUS

KEEDYSVILLE -- A community of the faithful gathered Sunday for an evening of music at Mt. Vernon Reformed United Church of Christ. The musical event was a fundraiser for the church, which was damaged in June during a storm.

The storm "wreaked havoc" on the church, damaging the original 1892 slate roof, said the Rev. Delancy Catlett. While insurance covered the $20,000 in repairs to the roof, other costs, such as tree removal, were not covered. A chimney also was damaged.

The "main culprit" in the damage was a large oak tree, which had to be hauled away, he said.

Mt. Vernon's congregation is small, with only 30 members on its roster, Catlett said. On a good Sunday, 15 people are in the pews, he said.

Sunday evening's featured talent was Shepherd University student and church member Jonas Dawson.

One difference between Mt. Vernon and other churches is that people don't leave during the recessional music, said Leslie Hendickson, president of the church council.


"When that boy (Dawson) plays, we all stop and pay attention," she said.

JoAnne Michael, organist and choir director at St. John's United Church of Christ in Clear Spring, heard about Dawson through a friend.

"He's supposed to be an excellent pianist," she said.

Michael attended Sunday's concert with Carole Robinson and Carolee Kelley, who all attend St. John's. The Clear Spring congregation sent Mt. Vernon $500 to help with the repairs, Catlett said.

Catlett estimated that the church needs about $3,000 to recoup the costs of tree removal.

"I've heard Jonas before. I was very impressed," Robinson said. "And if you're going out these days, you fill the car."

Several other Shepherd students volunteered their time to perform Sunday.

"This church is a hole-in-the-wall kind of church," Dawson said. "I know they don't operate on a lot of funding. Most of the money they get in goes right back out to causes," he said when explaining why he put together the ensemble for the concert.

Shepherd student Alicia Nuez performed a couple of classical opera pieces, accompanied by Dawson on the piano, for an attentive audience.

Tickets to Sunday's event cost $10, and word about it spread primarily through other churches, such as St. John's in Clear Spring, Hendrickson said.

"Really, we're lucky we didn't get more damage," said Nancy Kefauver, a member of the church.

That the stained glass windows weren't damaged was "just incredible. We're very, very fortunate," she said.

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