To celebrate Pasadena United Methodist Church's 100th anniversary, Pastor Mernie Crane unsealed a time capsule placed inside the sanctuary's cornerstone following its completion in 1958.
The unveiling was held in front of the congregation in September during their annual Rally Day, a kick-off event to celebrate the fall season, re-launch of Sunday school and the centennial.
As Crane unsealed the capsule to reveal its contents, congregants gathered around.
Church member Wilma Robley said she particularly enjoyed watching the expressions on the faces of older congregants as the items were removed from the canister.
The 60-year-old capsule contained a three-cent Forever Stamp, Bible, hymnal, newspaper, and directory of members.
Robley said opening the capsule "was a moving experience as the history of our church was revisited."
Church youth placed new items inside the container before resealing it for a later generation. They added a recent front page of The Capital, a 50-cent Forever Stamp, as well as a 100th anniversary ornament and church documents.
The container was first unsealed in 2008 to commemorate the church's 90th anniversary. Robley says the capsule was initially unsealed, in part, for elderly members to view its contents.
With her background as the co-chair of the 90th anniversary celebration, Robley took the lead in planning celebrations for the centennial. Since January 2017, she and 15 other members planned events.
"Everyone has contributed their time and talents to this event," she said.
The anniversary committee is hosting a private dinner Nov. 17 evening for parishioners.
A special church service will be held 10 a.m. Nov. 18. Leader of the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church, Bishop LaTrelle Easterling, will preach in honor of the church's anniversary.
With the 100th anniversary underway, congregants have been challenged to complete 100 minutes of mission work or donate 100 canned goods or care items to people less fortunate.
Mission team co-chairs Eric Parris and Rob Hood created several sign-up sheets for areas in the church that needed help, from beautification of church grounds to support for contemporary church services.
"We're trying to get the congregation engaged with giving up their time and service, not just their money," Robley said.
To fulfill the challenge, the Chancel choir collected more than 200 food items last month for the church pantry, called Care Corner. Congregants also donated 294 pairs of socks to Arundel House of Hope and Sarah's House in Fort Meade.
Following in the footsteps of their elders, United Methodist Youth have challenged congregants to donate goods to Operation Christmas Child. The program fills shoeboxes with items such as toothbrushes, soap, and school supplies to distribute to children around the world
For decades, Pasadena UMC congregants have been active in supporting a variety of programs aimed at helping others.
The church started a project called Dresses for Girls to provide simple dresses to young Haitian girls following a disaster; the mission has expanded to include girls around the world.
By supporting the Baltimore-Washington Conference, the church provides assistance to individuals nationally and internationally. It helped procure buckets for citizens affected by recent flooding.
The church collects money to purchase grocery store gift cards to provide to military personnel.
"The (Fort Meade) chaplain then gives (the cards) to military families most at need," Robley said.
United Methodist Women’s assistance includes distributing school supplies to local schools, baby items to Walk the Walk's Baby Pantry and donating basic kitchen kits to families transitioning out of Sarah's House and Arundel House of Hope.
During the holidays, the church provides food and gifts to selected families needing support.
Last Sunday, the church handed out bags for food collection, congregants are encouraged to fill the bags and return them to the church. Food donations will be divided between five or six local families.
"In past years, enough donations were given to cover both Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets for these families," Robley said.
The church has also been participating in the Winter Relief Program for 25 years, opening its doors to homeless men during winter months. United Methodist Youth provide meals to individuals during their stay at the church.
For the next 100 years, Robley hopes congregants at Pasadena UMC "will continue to live by our church mission statement: 'share God’s love, provide a spiritual home and humbly serve others.'”
Established in 1918, the church was originally named Pasadena Methodist Episcopal Church South. It was renamed Pasadena Methodist Church Inc. in 1939 following a merger between several Methodist churches.
A plan to construct a new sanctuary was presented in 1955. The land where the church currently sits, 61 Ritchie Hwy., was presented to the church by the Baltimore-Washington Conference as part of its Crusade for Church Extension fund.
A dedication service was held on Nov. 9, 1958 for the new building and the time capsule was embedded into the church's cornerstone.
In 1961, the fellowship hall and kitchen were constructed and a partial education wing was added two years later.
The church was renamed Pasadena UMC in 1968 after a unification between the Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren.
Every Sunday, the church offers two morning worship services. The first service is a contemporary service held at 9 a.m. featuring the band "All We Need." The service is a casual gathering offering coffee and breakfast items and a play area for young children.
Traditional services are held at 10:30 a.m. Music is performed by the Chancel, children's and bell choirs on alternating weeks. During both services, Crane delivers her sermon.
For more information about Pasadena UMC, call 410-647-3090.
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