Members of the Heavenly Hands children's puppet troupe at Loch Raven Presbyterian rehearse an upcoming Christmas show on a bare stage at the church. (Submitted photo / October 7, 2013)

Kids at Loch Raven Presbyterian Church, 9318 Old Harford Road, are literally putting their hands to work. The children, grades kindergarten through eighth grade, are members of Heavenly Hands, a puppet troupe that meets on the second and fourth Sunday from 4 to 5:30p.m. at the church.

Currently they are preparing a Christmas show that they will present on Sunday evening, Dec. 15. In addition to learning how to use the professional puppets and the rod arms, the kids learn the speaking parts for the puppet.

This is the second year for the group that was started when the two leaders of the group realized they both had experience and interest in puppets. Both realizes that working with puppets can be very beneficial to kids and help them develop responsibility, commitment and teamwork. They have recently acquired additional puppets and equipment and hope to take their shows out to nursing homes or other churches.

Women at Loch Raven Presbyterian Church are making baby blankets for The Center for Pregnancy Concerns, an agency that supports women with unplanned pregnancies. The women of the church meet two Fridays per month, once in the morning and once in the evening and construct the blankets. Carol Bronakoski, chair of the program, said, "We have a great time of fellowship and fun as we make these cute blankets for new moms and their babies." On Oct. 4, the group delivered 48 baby blankets and nine hats for newborns, Carol said. "Since it is a new project, group members haven't yet gotten feedback from any of the recipients but Carol said, "The lady who runs Hannah's Cupboard is so very happy with this new windfall of blankets."

Construction is simple: The women take a square of fleece fabric, cut fringe around the edges and then double-knot the fringe on all four sides. Participants may either purchase their fleece in advance or buy it at a blanket-making session. Anyone who would like to join the six to 19 ladies who make the blankets should call the church office at 410-661-5777.

Students at Loch Raven High School are enjoying a renovated media center this year. The project, which was begun in the fall of 2012 and finished over the summer, includes a new circulation desk, new floor, Promethean board, additional computers and an additional computer area. Principal Bonnie Lambert said, "We are very excited about our Media Center renovations. The innovative, updated, modern design was a collaboration of many individuals and many offices in Baltimore County Public Schools. The high school is grateful for the support of numerous educators. This project also had the financial support of our PTSA and several of our graduating classes."

Enjoy the fall weather and attend the fall harvest festival at Cromwell Valley Park's Willow Grove Farm, 2175 Cromwell Bridge Road. The festival will be held this weekend, Saturday and Sunday Oct. 12 and 13 from noon to 4p.m. A wide variety of activities will be available, including children's crafts, family games, a blacksmith demonstration, live music, pony rides, puppet shows, broom and rope making, beekeeping, children's farmers market, cider pressing, nature center exhibits and 4H displays. Food vendors include Charcoal Deli, Kettle Corn and Tim's Treats. Talmar will be selling cut flowers, mums and produce. Suggested donation is $5 per carload. For information, call 410-887-2503.

And to satisfy your visual art interest, attend the Fall Art Auction at Trinity Episcopal Church, 12400 Manor Road in Glen Arm, on Saturday, Oct. 19 . A preview begins at 7 p.m. The $40-per-couple fee includes wine, beer, hors d'oeuvres, desserts and coffee. A cash bar will be available and a jazz ensemble will perform during the preview. The auction will feature art in all media and at all price ranges — just in time for holiday shopping. Call the church at 410-592-6224 for more information.

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