Local churches bring community together with summer series

A group of area churches are coming together to present the Five Alive Summer Series, hoping to gain community involvement and provide a time of fellowship for all.

The "Campaign for Christ"-themed Five Alive Summer Series, which started June 23, is taking place at Deer Park United Methodist Church in Smallwood every Saturday evening through Aug. 25.

Each program will include contemporary praise music, a speaker, Scripture, fellowship, prayer and food, according to Scarlett Fisher, chairwoman for the outreach ministries at Sandy Mount United Methodist Church in Finksburg, one of the churches involved.

"Our goal is to get the community involved," Fisher said. "Yes, we want the people from our church to attend, but more than that we want to draw people who may be new to the area and are looking for a church, or just looking for some fellowship."

The series began with just Deer Park four years ago, according to Cindy Saylor, administrative assistant at the church.

But this year the church wanted to make it more of a community event, so they invited other area churches to join forces, Saylor said.

Fisher said 16 churches are somehow involved in the Five Alive Summer Series.

There are five main host churches, she said, including Deer Park and Sandy Mount in Finksburg, as well as Mount Zion United Methodist Church, Calvary United Methodist Church and Trinity Lutheran Church, all in Finksburg.

Ten additional United Methodist Churches, as well as Carroll Lutheran Village, are participating in the Five Alive series in various ways, Fisher said.

The host churches are in charge of certain Saturday programs, and are responsible for making all of the food for the event, which is provided to attendees for free. Fisher said in the past the events have included hot dogs, hamburgers, taco salad, drinks and more.

Each program will have a different speaker from the community, which the host church is also responsible for obtaining.

Executive Director of The Shepherd's Staff Brenda Meadows will speak at the July 14 Five Alive program.

"Essentially, the topic of the conversation will be how Shepherd's Staff serves our neighbors in need in the community," Meadows said. "We have several programs and then we also have emergency financial aid."

Meadows said she will focus on talking about the organization's back-to-school program, which provides children with a backpack full of back to school essentials.

Fisher said throughout the Five Alive Summer Series the churches involved will be collecting donations which will be given to five local charities: The Shepherd's Staff, Carroll Hospice's Dove House, Access Carroll, Carroll County Food Sunday, and the Human Services Programs of Carroll County.

So far this year the programs have drawn crowds of 70-80 people, Saylor said.

"It's good fellowship and good food," she said. "And a fun and relaxing time for everyone."