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Loch Raven: From Bible school to overseas missions, a busy summer at Hiss

Members of Hiss United Methodist Church have been busy this summer. In late June, the church was transformed into the biblical town of Nazareth for a week during the church's annual Vacation Bible School.

More than 85 children, youth and leaders were involved in the various activities which allowed participants to learn about life in the town where Jesus grew up.

Dressed in period costumes, the kids were divided into "tribal" family groups and participated in dramatizations depicting life in Nazareth. They also enjoyed games, snacks and crafts, and memorized Bible verses. The church's new pastor, Rev. Tim Dowell, served as a shepherd for the program.

For a mission project, the children brought in toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss for people in Honduras. The two large trash bags of dental products will be delivered by the group, Hiss Volunteers in Mission, when members travel to Honduras next week. An additional $50 was collected for medicines and supplies.

Parents and other guests got a glimpse of the kids' activities at the Thursday evening program, which included a slide show and musical performances.

Dianne Thompson, director of evangelism and communications, said, "Dale Salah and her family and committee did an outstanding job of planning the special week. Next year, we travel to Babylon!"

This summer, Hiss church members have also traveled to various mission sites. At the beginning of July, 13 congregants worked to build the foundation of a house in Murfreesboro, Tenn., shoveling 88 tons of gravel as part of a Habitat for Humanity project.

The future homeowner, a single mother with her son, worked with them.

The Hiss team included Michelle and Ken Cody, Wayne Definbaugh, Sue Jacobs, the Jagoe Family, Kathy Merrill, Marc Miller, Franklin Pakacki, Dawn Sladek, Jean Sortino and Nathalie Wisecup. They also did several side jobs including painting a shed.

Youth from the church, along with chaperons and Rev. George Weitzel, spent the second week of July at Camp Joy near Elkins, W.Va. That team, made up of Rachael Artes, Julie Cody, Heather Chenoweth, Michelle Cody, Ashly Gayle, Eryn Gayle, Ken Cody, Connor Hiatt, Matthew Lamp, Mac Hiatt, Lauren Rohrs, Justin Kihn, Ian Lamp, Sarah Rohrs, Joe Wilson, Joey Wilson and Wayne Wurzbacher, helped to rehabilitate homes for needy people.

In July, a team from Hiss participated in the Baltimore County Christian Workcamp, working on a home in the Parkville area, and the church will send a medical and construction team to Honduras next week when they deliver the dental supplies collected at Bible school.

It's almost "back to school" time. Pleasant Plains Elementary School invites students to sneak a peek at their seats on Friday, Aug. 24 from 2 to 4 p.m. They will have a chance to see the new classroom and meet their teacher.

Maureen Partilla, school principal said, "This special time is helpful in releasing some jitters that sometimes occur on the first day."

Then on Aug. 27 at Pleasant Plains, parents are invited to a first day breakfast where school staff will share information about the school and techniques to help students achieve their potential.

Partilla said, "We welcome parent involvement and believe that when parents (and) guardians are involved in their children's education, the children get the message that school is very important."

Back to School Night is Sept. 4 at 7 p.m., when teachers explain the curriculum and grade level expectations.

Residents with elementary school-aged children who are new to the neighborhood are encouraged to stop in to meet with Partilla and to get the child registered. The school is at 8300 Pleasant Plains Road. Call 410-887-3549.

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