Around Hancock

April 29, 2010|By ANNE WEATHERHOLT / 301-678-6888

o Read more Anne Weatherholt columns at

Church marks 175th anniversary

One hundred and seventy-five years ago, the hill above the little riverside settlement of Hancock was just a hill.

There the Potomac River cuts north and was turned back by the rock and shale of the Hancock hills, making a north bend before plunging south on its way to the Chesapeake Bay.

For thousands of years, Christians have built churches on the highest points in their towns and placed spires atop the buildings, pointing toward the sky, drawing our eyes and hearts in the upward call.


So, it was inevitable that when the Episcopalians decided to set down roots in these parts, they picked the hill above the river looking down on the area of the old ford and the newly built C&O Canal, a vista spanning to the hills on the then-Virginia side.

War had not yet split our land, and the mood was energetic and entrepreneurial as settlers from the east spilled over the hills toward the west.

But to build a church was a good thing. It meant permanence. It meant morals and values. It meant the serious intent of a community to raise new generations.

Building materials were plentiful and nearby - clay for bricks, chestnut, oak and pine for wood, and the skilled hands of recently minted new citizens taking a break from digging the canal.

The design was supposedly copied from a church to the west, hence the name "Thomas" for the "Doubting Twin" of scripture fame.

And in 1835, the stately colonial-style church opened its doors like welcoming arms for all who would come seeking solace and joy, benediction and blessing. The doors remain open today for all who would enter, as St. Thomas' Episcopal Church celebrates its anniversary Sunday at 4 p.m.

The Rev. F. Allan Weatherholt and his parishioners will welcome the Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, Episcopal Bishop of Maryland, who will officiate at the anniversary service, confirm new members and celebrate Holy Communion.

All who attend will sing, pray and hear a sermon by the Rev. Edward C. "Bo" Chapman, rector of the "Mother Parish" of Emmanuel Church in Cumberland, Md.

Priests and deacons who were once "in-training" will return as participants. Members will celebrate their ministries and a display of historical photos and artifacts will handily remind us of the past.

More than a church service, this celebration is a milestone for a landmark, recognition of the enduring spirit of faithful people who remain committed through thick and thin to the improbable call to love their enemies, feed the hungry, search out the lost and preach the good news until Christ comes again.

Potpie dinner

The Hancock Panthers Band invites the community to a ham potpie dinner Friday at Hancock High School from 4 to 7 p.m. It has been a sellout the last two times. Tickets cost $7 for adults and $4 for children. Those younger than 3 eat free. Thank the Band Boosters while you are there. These behind-the-scenes parents make all the difference.

Health fair

Don't forget about the Tri-State Health Fair on Friday at 130 W. High St. Free H1N1 vaccines will be given to any uninsured individual who has not yet received one. Plenty of free information and fun will be included.

Summer camp

It's not too early to begin making summer plans for your children. Again this year, the Washington County Recreation Department will sponsor a day camp in Hancock, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. beginning June 21.

Sessions will be held weekly until Aug. 6.

It will be held at Hancock Middle-Senior High School's community gym. The camp is for those ages 6 to 12.

Campers participate in various activities, including walks to the pool and library. Campers swim each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A $2 fee to the Hancock Municipal Pool must be paid each day of swimming. The registration fee is $40 per week for Washington County residents and $45 for those out-of-county. Stephen Weatherholt will be the camp director again this year.

To register, call 240-313-2805 or go to

Breakfast in the Park

The popular Breakfast in the Park series, sponsored alternately by the Hancock Lions Club and the James W. Bowers Masonic Lodge, returns Saturday, May 8.

Come out to Widmeyer Park between 7 and 10 a.m. when the Masons will be at the grill, serving up hot cakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, hash browns, coffee, tea and juice. The cost is reasonable, and all proceeds will support worthwhile causes in the community.

All spruced up

Hancock looked like it had had a "makeover" last Saturday when Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski came to town.

Although they traveled separately, both dignitaries got out to walk around and see the new downtown tourist center and Sideling Hill Exhibit.

Lawns were mowed, flower beds spruced up, walks and roads brushed, trash picked up, storefronts washed and our town looked good.

Let's hope this remains the case as the town strives to put itself on the tourism map for good.

Set aside Tuesday, May 11, for the official grand opening celebration of the tourist center.

The Herald-Mail Articles