Church rallies for more love in the world

February 13, 2011|By JULIE E. GREENE |
  • Eddie VanMeter of Williamsport, left, and Ann Sears of Waynesboro, Pa., hold signs and wave to passing motorists Sunday afternoon at Hagerstown's Public Square during a love rally organized by Unity of Hagerstown.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — “Love” was written in pink, blue and green all over one sign. Another read “Love rocks” and another, “Be more loving.”

A few people passing by Public Square in windy downtown Hagerstown on Sunday afternoon thought the signs had something to do with Valentine’s Day and promoting love, but didn’t really know what was going on.

“I guess because Valentine’s Day is tomorrow,” surmised Linda Ward, 65, of Berkeley Springs, W.Va. “We do need more love in the world.”

For less than an hour early Sunday afternoon, four to seven people held signs as part of a love rally. It was the second love rally organized by Unity of Hagerstown, a congregation that meets Sunday mornings at the Civil Air Patrol building at Hagerstown Regional Airport.

The group held a love rally at the square last October that involved about 15 people, including at least two people who weren’t congregation members, said Eddie VanMeter, 47, of Williamsport.

The love rally was held in conjunction with a 64-day international campaign referred to as A Season for Peace and Nonviolence, according to a news release about the rally. The campaign, which is Jan. 30 to April 4, is inspired by the anniversaries of the assassinations of nonviolent activists Mahatma Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., according to The Association for Global New Thought’s website at

“There’s a lot of fear and hate being promoted in the world. (It’s a) good idea to promote love,” said Mark Warren, the Unity of Hagerstown parishioner who started the local love rally.

The rally did spark some conversation.

As a reporter was interviewing a passer-by on South Potomac Street, another man overheard and said it won’t work, referred to “bad guys” and said “you can’t change human nature.”

Before the man entered a nearby building, Matthew West, the man who was being interviewed, said while there will always be bad guys, there are people on the borderline who can be swayed.

If you can sway the people in the middle to the good side, the peaceful side, then that’s what you’ve got to do, said West, 38, of Hagerstown.

“They’ll always be bad guys, but you can’t give up on everybody,” West said.

Carl McGowan, 53, of Hagerstown, said he suspected the rally had to do with bringing people together because one sign read “We can all just get along.”

“I think it’s a good idea. We should all love one another,” McGowan said.

Veronica VanMeter joined her father at the rally Sunday. Veronica, 14, doesn’t attend Unity of Hagerstown, but she wanted to join the rally to “spread the love. Make sure that everybody knows that they’re loved by us and that God loves them.”

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