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Religion

Worship takes place in a variety of ways

7:25 PM EDT, May 30, 2011

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Religion in Howard County is both diverse and flourishing. Close to 300 faith communities worship here, including Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Islamic, Mormon, Christian Scientist, Seventh-day Adventist, Baha’i, Buddhist, Scientologist and Unitarian Universalist groups.

Among them are at least 43 Baptist, 41 Methodist, 15 Roman Catholic, 15 Presbyterian, 12 Lutheran, 10 Episcopalian and seven Jewish congregations, as well as one for Messianic Jews. They meet in interfaith centers, churches, synagogues, schools or neighborhood facilities — more than 200 places of worship. Many foreign-language congregations also have formed in recent years.

Interfaith centers

With Columbia’s founding in 1967 came the concept of interfaith centers, allowing city planners to use land and resources more wisely. The interfaith centers in Wilde Lake, Oakland Mills, River Hill and Owen Brown are home to 20 worship communities. The newest interfaith campus opened in Kings Contrivance, housing the Cornerstone Church of God and The Orthodox Church of St. Matthew.

Bon Secours

For more than 40 years, the Bon Secours Spiritual Center in Marriottsville has offered a place of retreat for groups or individuals interested in spending a quiet day in peace, reflection and prayer. The center, which is run by the Sisters of Bon Secours, welcomes self-guided retreats, but also offers both day- and weekend-long retreats and workshops. It has meeting rooms, a chapel and a dining room, and elsewhere on the 313-acre site are a pond, labyrinth, Japanese garden, outdoor swimming pool, fitness center and bookstore. Its 70 overnight rooms were recently renovated, each with a private bath. To find out more, visit www.bonsecoursspiritualcenter.org.

Useful phone numbers

Associated Catholic Charities
410-561-6363

Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church
410-309-3400

Bon Secours Spiritual Center
410-442-1320

Christian Services of Howard County                                                                                410-465-1060

Dar al-Taqwa Mosque
410-997-5711

Jewish Federation of Howard County
410-730-4976

Oakland Mills Interfaith Center
410-730-4090

Owen Brown Interfaith Center
410-381-2000

Salvation Army
443-656-3376

The Gathering Place in River Hill
410-531-3229

Wilde¿Lake¿Interfaith¿Center
410-730-7920