For the past nine years, Father Peter Smith has served as pastor for the St. Charles of Brazil Parish, a Catholic congregation that holds services at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Linthicum. Sunday, the church will hold a farewell service for Smith, who is transferring to a parish in Herndon, Va.
Smith was ordained as a priest in the Catholic Apostolic Church in North America – a eucharistic community that welcomes everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or marital status – in 2006. Soon after, Smith became pastor of the Linthicum parish.
Also employed as a social worker and a professor at the School of Social Work at the University of Maryland, Smith is leaving the local church to replace the Herndon parish’s retiring pastor.
Smith will remain in his Catonsville home and make the trek to the Virginia church a few times a week. And although Smith’s primary pastoral duties will be served in Herndon, he says he will still be around to serve the Linthicum community when needed.
“The folks at St. Charles are just terrific people,” Smith said. “That’s been a fantastic experience for nine years. You couldn’t ask for a better situation.”
During his tenure, the parish has had three locations. It began by meeting in a borrowed room at Our Savior Lutheran in Lansdowne for a few years, then relocated to Grace Episcopal Church in Elkridge. For the past year, the congregation has been “nesting” at St. Christopher’s in Linthicum.
Throughout his time as priest of the Linthicum parish, Smith says one thing the community has always done is take care of those who are less fortunate.
“I never had to tell that community to focus on what we are doing for the poor or what we are doing for social justice,” Smith said. “They were always ahead of me on that. They really sought out opportunities to be of service.”
Some of these opportunities included involvement with the Westside Men’s Shelter in Baltimore County and work with the Samaritan Women in Baltimore.
The parish also collaborated with other congregations to advocate for the passing of same sex marriage legislation in Maryland and is connected with Baltimore Pride.
“We are not a predominately LGBTQ congregation, but we are an open and affirming congregation and have always been,” Smith said.
Smith stepped down as pastor of St. Charles at the end of November and officially took over as priest of the Herndon parish Dec. 9. On Sunday, Smith will deliver the homily at the church’s mass at 11 a.m. and will be there “singing and dancing his heart out.”
Smith will be replaced by Mother Monica Kennedy, who has served as the assistant pastor at St. Charles for the past three years. Ordained Deacon Al Risdorfer will make up the rest of the clergy at St. Charles.
“For me as a priest it’s just absolutely been the experience of a lifetime,” Smith said. “There’s a lot of different things to miss. The humor, the sense of community – these are really beautiful people in a lot of ways.”
St. Christopher’s Episcopal church is at 116 Marydale Road.
Donations sought for holiday shop
Park Elementary School seeks donations for its annual Tiger Paws Holiday Shop, in which students are able to “purchase” items using their Tiger Paw rewards or Dojo Points. New and gently used yard sale-type items, including candles, jewelry, toys, stuffed animals and gifts for males, are being accepted, as well as wrapping paper, gift bags and tags and other decorative materials.
The event is free for Park Elementary students and volunteers are needed for the Holiday Shop. Call Park Elementary School at 410-222-6593 for more information.
Blue Christmas Celebration
Linthicum Heights United Methodist Church will hold a Blue Christmas Celebration Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. Those who are experiencing grief, despair and loneliness, or who are otherwise unhappy during the holidays, are invited to attend.
Call the church at 410-859-0990 for more information.
Children’s Holiday Party
The Brooklyn Heights Improvement Association and the Arundel Neighborhoods Association are in need of volunteers and donations for a children’s holiday party, scheduled for Dec. 19. New and very gently used toys and bikes are sought. Cookies and juice boxes, as well as volunteers, for the party are also needed.
The BP Café will host a holiday food and toy giveaway Dec. 19, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Brooklyn Park Community Library, 1 East 11 Ave. The event will provide onsite services to assist parents in achieving or maintaining economic self-support and self-sufficiency.