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News Maryland Baltimore County Towson

Replica of God's house is a labor of love for church member [Loch Raven]

Inside Arnolia United Methodist Church, located at Joppa and Oakleigh roads, is an exact replica of the building complete with the steeple and cross which rises high over the church, dozens of windows, six porches with steps and even the corrals for the trash cans in the rear. The church building was built in stages with the sanctuary, the final section completed in1968 but the replica was constructed this year.

It all started when church member Mike Pfeifer helped to build a train garden at the Jacksonville Senior Center in Baltimore County. There, Pfeifer and other center members replicated many of the buildings from the area. When Arnolia held its Oktoberfest last fall, Pfeifer donated a gift certificate for the silent auction to build a replica of the high bidder's home.

But the high bidder, Keith Derrickson, music director at Arnolia, requested a replica of the church. And so began the four-month project to recreate a church that stretches out over much of the three acres it occupies and to build it in a size that could reasonably be displayed in the church. He explained "the space limitations dictated that I create a model in a scale half of that which I had ever worked in before. With 66-year-old eyes and hands, this was a challenge; but I managed, and fortuitously enough, it fit on a standard 1-foot by 2-foot base of birch plywood, and then into a standard 20-gallon aquarium. A piece of Plexiglas to fit into the top of the aquarium completes the display."

The model was built in four sections: sanctuary, education building, Wilson Hall, and conference room/kitchen complex with the hardest part being "joining the four modules together so that the roof lines of the whole complex met properly." A variety of materials and adhesives were used including sheet styrene one-sixteenth inch thick, card stock, acetate, Testors Cement and Wathers Goo which Pfeifer claims is necessary for any of his modeling projects.

He also used digitally sized photos of the roof shingles and bricks printed on vellum to recreate the roof and sides of the building; the interior window treatments were also recreated with digitally sized photographs. The result was an exact model of the church building.

The community is welcome to attend worship services (9 or 11a.m) on Sundays and view the model that is in the narthex as you enter the sanctuary.

Unfortunately, the train garden is not on display, but you can visit the Jacksonville Senior Center when they have their spring flea market on Saturday, April 27 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The center is located at 3605A Sweet Air Road in Phoenix. If you want to sell your goods, call the center at 410-887-8208. Indoor tables are $15 and outside spaces are $10 (bring your own table and chair). The event will be held rain or shine.

But at Hiss United Methodist Church on Harford Road, the two pastors, Tim Dowell and George Weitzel ended up throwing pies at each other— not in anger but as a tie breaker to a penny war which was sponsored by the church's youth group, LaBeL. In an effort to raise funds for World Vision, jars were labeled for each pastor and congregants were asked to deposit pennies in the jars. However the total collected was nearly the same for each pastor at the end of the contest so the pie battle became the tie breaker.

The pie battle was the culminating event at the community Easter Egg-stravaganza held on Saturday, March 23 for children from Hiss as well as from the neighborhood. The children had the opportunity to participate in crafts such as making a paper donkey like the one Jesus rode on Palm Sunday before going into the yard to hunt for eggs.

The penny battle between the two pastors raised nearly $200 which will be included in the youth group's effort to raise money to help end world hunger. Youth from Hiss will join youth across the nation and participate in World Vision 30-hour famine on April 6.

The community is invited to attend the Parkville Senior Center's (8601 Harford Road) annual free health and fitness fair on Wednesday, April 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 410-887-5338 in advance to schedule your appointment for the following screenings: bone density, vision, hearing, body-mass index, blood pressure, depression, HIV, fitness, cholesterol and more.

Contact me by Sunday to read your Loch Raven news here!

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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