Old faces and new celebrate 60th anniversary of Loch Raven Methodist Church [column]

Loch Raven Methodist Church celebrates 60th anniversary; Jarrett Rettman, of Arnolia United Methodist Church who directs the church's praise band Rejuvenate, is playing bass guitar for the Tidewaters Player's "The Rocky Horror Show"

Some 60 plus years ago, Carroll Doggett, a young pastor, was assigned by the Methodist Church to organize a congregation to attend the new church which was still to be built at the corner of Loch Raven Boulevard and Glendale Road. Beginning in March 1953, Doggett, along with his wife, Nan, knocked on the doors of the newly built homes of Loch Raven Village informing residents of the new church that was to be built and inviting them to join.


The area was in transition from rural to residential at the time. Land where the Loch Raven Village homes were built in the early 1950s had been used as pasture for black Angus cattle owned by William Hahn just a few years before Loch Raven Boulevard was a two-lane road soon to be a four-lane highway with shopping centers springing up.

On Sept. 13 of that year, a large crowd turned out for the first service held in a little white cottage on the property; 102 people joined the church and chose the name Loch Raven Methodist Church.


Construction of the church building started on May 30, 1954, and the first service in the new building was held on January 15, 1956, with several hundred people in attendance. Since then, extensive growth has resulted in a thriving church with a sanctuary, fellowship hall, education center with classrooms, auditorium, chapel and library. The congregation supports many local and international mission projects and is the site of a preschool program, after-school children's center and numerous community meetings.

On Sept. 15 of this year Rev. Doggett returned to the church to join current pastor the Rev. Cliff Webner in leading the 60th anniversary service. The Rev. Henry Thompson and his wife, Carole, who served the church in the 1990's also attended. One hundred and fifty-six people attended and a special luncheon followed in the church's fellowship hall where tables had centerpieces designed with 1950's-1960's hats and ties. Throughout this year, old bulletins and other church documents had been on display to commemorate the anniversary.

At the service, Ardith Luttrell, was recognized as the only charter member still attending the church regularly. She said, "Rev. Carroll Doggett and his wife came to my door in 1953 as they visited everyone in the newly built and growing Loch Raven Village. We were new to the area and we liked that a church was to be in our area. Our children were young and we wanted a church home that would be good for them, where they could grow. The Doggetts had young children, and we knew they could relate to a young family like ours and the many others in our neighborhood."

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Another past member, Mark Shillingburg, flew in from New Hampshire; his mother, Eva, was director of the church's weekday kindergarten program during the church's first three decades.

Arnolia United Methodist Church is sharing some of its talent. Jarrett Rettman, who directs the church's praise band Rejuvenate, is playing bass guitar for the Tidewaters Players' "The Rocky Horror Show" in Havre De Grace. Rettman said, "I first saw the musical through its movie, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" when I was 17 (last year!) and thought it was the perfect combination of humor and rock and roll. When I heard about the upcoming run at this local community theatre, I absolutely wanted to be a part of it somehow!"

Retmann's interest in music was sparked by his aunt, Marge Phillips, the Beatles and Keith Derrickson, his music teacher at Pleasant Plains Elementary School. Ironically, Derrickson also now works at Arnolia as director of music and Retmann takes private piano and organ lessons from Derrickson now.

Currently enrolled at CCBC Essex, Retmann plans to get a bachelor's degree in music education from either Towson or UMBC but admits, "I don't have a desire to teach, but I will most likely be going for music education because that's the degree with a solid career at the end of it. It's really there to fall back on. I'd like to pursue my own original music and continue working with Rejuvenate. I just want to make as much music as I can and survive! I've really spread myself out by building classical, contemporary, Christian, theater, rock and roll, and jazz backgrounds on a variety of instruments."

At Arnolia, he directs, plays keyboard, but covers bass and guitar when needed and adds "some mandolin and ukulele when the time is right."


You can catch the show on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. from Sept. 27 to Oct. 12; Saturday night there is also a midnight show. The theater is located at 121 N. Union Ave. in Havre de Grace, MD 21078.

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