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Fair puts faith in action

August 09, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN -- Howard Ruskie stayed around after the Sunday service at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Hagerstown to watch the sanctuary transform into a Faith in Action fair.

The fair was all about spreading the word that volunteers are a vital commodity to the health and actual survival of some agencies that provide services to many people.

"I think this is the first time the Unitarians have done this," Ruskie said. "After all, ... part of the purpose of being a Unitarian is volunteering."

Actually, the first such fair was held in January, according to Debbie Ellis, who has been attending the local church for some time.

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"It was very successful," Ellis said of the first fair, which prompted Sunday's event.

Lots of conversations were apparent between church members and participants who came seeking to attract volunteers to their ranks.

Fanny Crawford, executive director of APPLES Inc. (Alliance for Parents, Providers and Local Employer Solutions), handed out pamphlets for her agency.

Also a Unitarian, Crawford said the congregation was holding a bake sale with proceeds helping pay for a week of lunches for REACH cold-weather shelter clients in January.

Courtenay Elder visited the Heifer Project display and before she knew it, the Unitarian Church member was knitting away for the international agency, which is dedicated to helping poor people around the world.

Also invited to display information about their agencies were AAUW book sale representatives, Community Gardens, Food Resources Inc., Washington County Library, Girls Inc., Green Sanctuary committee, Breast Cancer Awareness of Cumberland Valley, Habitat for Humanity and ReStore, Seeing Eye dogs, Vocal Locals, Washington County Mediation Center, Winter Street School and the Unitarian religious education committee.

A member of the Hagerstown congregation for about six years, Ruskie said he had been a Unitarian for many years prior in Columbia, Md.

"It's nice here," he said of the church at 13245 Cearfoss Pike. "You don't have to fit in and that's the point."

For more information about the Unitarian Universalist Church of Hagerstown, call 301-797-5533.

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