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Windows at St. James — more than just light [Marriottsville/Sykesville/Woodstock]

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About 30 years ago, the youth fellowship at St. James United Methodist Church fashioned a series of Advent "windows" — decorative inserts that nestle inside the building's glass windows — which the church displays every Christmas season. Last year, the Sunday school teachers and students crafted a similar display for Lent and Easter

In the first step of the process, parishioner Tom Case constructed wooden frames to fit inside the church's windows. Donna Benson, another parishioner, sketched designs on sheets of brown paper and attached them to large pieces of cardboard. The older youth cut out the designs using craft knives, and then the younger children lined the openings with colored tissue paper. Finally, the older youth and adults stapled the cardboard to the wooden frames.

In all, seven adults and 19 students participated in the effort, and the youngsters ranged in age from 4 to 18. Perhaps most poignant is the fact that the parents of some of these youth helped make the Advent windows a generation ago. Benson says that just as the current youth repair and replace tissue paper from the original project, the offspring of today's youth may be the one's maintaining and displaying the holiday inserts in another 30 years.

Passersby can easily view the decorated windows, which sit on the second floor of the Sunday school wing, facing the road. At night, the church leaves the interior lights on to create an appearance of stained glass. The church will display the Lenten windows throughout Holy Week and will then display the Easter windows for two or three weeks beginning the night before Easter. The address is 12470 Old Frederick Road (Route 99), in Marriottsville.

Earth Day falls this year on Tuesday, April 22, but the Howard County Conservancy will recognize the event on Saturday, April 26. Come out for a bird walk with the Howard County Bird Club at 8 a.m., then help with stewardship projects from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants will clean streams, plant trees and remove invasive plants.

The Howard County Master Gardeners will be on hand to give away rain barrels and sell plants, and they will also hold a composting demonstration at 11 a.m.

Make sure to bring the kids since the Conservancy will offer a children's craft from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. All Earth Day activities are free and do not require registration.

The Conservancy will also offer a Home School Day on Monday, April 28, from 9 a.m. to noon, when naturalists will lead grade-differentiated programs on habitats, insects and birds. The cost is $7.50 per student. Go to http://www.hcconservancy.org for registration information, or call 410-465-8877.

Every summer, the Marriotts Ridge High School Boosters Club offers a variety of summer camps geared toward students ranging in age from 3rd grade to adult. The weekly sports camps will run throughout the summer, while all of the music camps will take place the week of July 21-25.

Go to http://www.mrhs-boosters.com/summer-camps to view detailed information or register online. The early-bird cost is $140 per week for registrations received on or before Thursday, May 15, and registrations after May 15 cost $155. All campers will receive either a T-shirt or reversible practice jersey. For more information, email summercamps@mrhs-boosters.com.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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