West County: Come as your are church celebrates new look for new year

West County: Come as your are church celebrates new look for new year
Pastor Gertrude Stevens at the pulpit in front of CJAYA's newly constructed choir stand in Severn. (Sharon P. Schultz / Correspondent)

It wasn’t that long ago Rev. Gertrude Stevens, pastor and founder of Come Just As You Are Bible Fellowship Church in Severn, spoke about much needed renovations to the church. Her concern was primarily for the comfort of her congregation, particularly the young and the elderly.

“We needed to renovate because we had to go outside to use the bathrooms which were attached on to the back of the church,” Stevens said. “The bathrooms were the major factor to renovate. To enter the bathrooms, we had to go outside in the cold, snow, heat and rain. It was inconvenient for all of us, especially the elderly, children and the mothers with babies. Praise the Lord they are now inside in the front vestibule.”


But that wasn’t the only issue since purchasing the church in June 2012.

“Over the years we had to use other churches to baptize the candidates for Baptism; now we have our very own Baptismal Pool,” Stevens said.

The pulpit area was enlarged and a choir stand constructed. Also included are two new entrances, rear and front, with new handicap ramps. The groundbreaking ceremony for the improvements was May 29, 2016, as Stevens and the congregation celebrated 15 years of ministry.

Stevens asked every member of her congregation to pledge $1,000. Fundraisers, including bake sales and fashion shows, helped raise the needed funds. Renovations cost $125,000.

“The renovation consisted of moving the bathrooms from outside the back of the pulpit to the front vestibule of the church,” Stevens said. “The two bathrooms will be handicap accessible for both male and female, enlarge the pulpit area by moving the old bathrooms, adding a Baptismal pool, a choir loft, and new handicap ramps for both entrances into the church.”

Bad weather, inspections, scheduling issues, electrical problems, personal emergencies negatively delayed the completion date. The renovations were complete in November, and came in about $20,000 over budget.

Last month, the 2017 Dedication Services for The Renovation of CJAYA Church were held over several days with guest speakers from the religious community preaching from the new pulpit.

“Now that the renovation is completed,” Stevens said, “the new spaces will be used going forward in 2018. The choir moving from the pews to the choir loft gives space for new members and growth for visitors from the community to be seated. The comfort of the inside bathrooms is definitely an asset to move us from inconvenience to convenience.”

“Our church with the stained-glass windows and the steeple pointing toward heaven is so beautiful inside and out, and is more equipped now with comfort for members of our congregation and visitors,” Pastor Stevens concludes.


“God has blessed us abundantly and fulfilled my vision.”

CJAYA invites the community to celebrate with it on Sunday 10 p.m. until Midnight. Enjoy selections from the Choir and Liturgical Dance Ministry and hear Stevens preach out the old year and pray in the new.

The church is at 1210 Severn Station Road in Severn. Call 410-551-5890 for more information.

Medieval Times honors teachers

Last month, Medieval Times in Hanover honored outstanding teachers in our area. Teachers, staff members, parents and students were asked to nominate an educator in their lives who displays integrity, leadership and determination in their field.

This year’s honoree is Ashley Schultz, a teaching assistant at Old Mill High School. Schultz was nominated by her school’s principal, Stacey Smith, for being an exceptional leader with a tremendous work ethic.

Schultz received a surprise visit at her school from Medieval Times to present her with a specialized decree along with tickets to an upcoming show and other goodies in her prize package.

Happy New Year Elks-style

Glen Burnie Elks Lodge #2266, 878 Stevenson Road in Severn, is hosting a New Year’s Eve Gala on Dec. 31. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served 7-8 p.m.; Dinner buffet is served 8–9:30 p.m.; Music by Rebound and dancing until 1 a.m followed by a continental breakfast.

Tickets are $45 and includes all the above plus party favors. Attire is semi-formal. Call the Lodge at 410-969-2266 for additional information.

Play Bingo for the kids

The Golden Corral at Arundel Mills Mall hosts a Bingo for Camp Coral at the Jessup Community Hall, 2920 Jessup Road, on Jan. 7. Doors open at 3 p.m.; Bingo starts at 3:30 p.m. Advance tickets are $15; $20 at the door. Twenty regular games and three specials are included with admission.

Camp Coral is a nonprofit sponsored by Golden Corral that sends children of disabled, injured or fallen military heroes to a week of summer camp. Contact Dana Herbert, 410-796-7999 with questions.