On Sunday, Sept. 29, Ebenezer United Methodist Church will celebrate 125 years at its current location on Woodbine Road in Sykesville with a catered lunch, memorabilia for sale and lots of photos of events that occurred over the years.
More than 200 people are expected to attend the festivities .
After the 9 a.m. service, everyone will be asked to step outside and pose for a group photo to be put in a time capsule.
And where will that time capsule be stored?
Hopefully, in a new church building.
Since February, when it was agreed that a new sanctuary was needed, committees have met with architects and plans have been drawn. Now the congregation has its eyes on a new church, a new, second-story addition for Sunday classrooms and a larger fellowship hall.
"It's a pretty major undertaking," said Pastor Judith Emerson.
The congregation dates back 200 years, first meeting in a school house that burned down in the 1850s. As the congregation grew, the property on Woodbine Road was deeded to the church, and a new church was built. It wasn't long before it was deemed too small, and the current church was built while the other was removed to make room for the cemetery.
Structurally sound after all these years, the well-loved sanctuary can comfortably seat about 120 people — 130 in a squeeze, according to Sue Bergmann, church secretary. With more than 300 registered families, the church holds two services on Sundays, with additional ones for major holidays such as Christmas and Easter.
"It's kind of hard when you have one pastor," Bergmann said, of the multiple services."It's a lot for one person."
The church's two front doors are no longer used to enter the church, as placment of the altar has been flipped. It now stands inside those doors, and the former back entrance is now the main entrance.. The now-closed front doors are occasionally opened when the weather is nice or for funerals, to bring a coffin inside.
Window air-conditioning units are used in the summer and baseboard heating in the winter.
"We are hoping we can expand," Emerson said. "There is so much potential here to continue to grow."
Once a new church is built, the current one will be used as a chapel, Bergmann said.
All in all, the 125th anniversary "should be an exciting day," Emerson said.