Shrove Tuesday was celebrated throughout Carroll County, as is the tradition, with pancakes.
At Deer Park United Methodist Church off Md. 32 at Deer Park Road, they served all-you-can-eat pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs, applesauce, and choice of beverage in an annual event sponsored by Deer Park Lions Club and Deer Park UMC Men’s Group to support community service and ministry programs.
Numerous houses of worship sponsored similar events.
Strawbridge United Methodist Church in New Windsor was serving pancakes, just as they have since, well, as long as Stephen Howard can remember.
“Our church is 100 years old, so I would say probably 50 or 60 years,” he said. “I’m 30 and we have been holding it since I was younger. I’ve been a member all my life.”
Howard is the head of the church’s United Methodist Men and chair of the Shrove Tuesday pancake dinner.
Shrove comes from the word “shrive,” which means to confess, according to information the church posted on its Facebook page in relation to the dinner. Many churches — including Catholic, Anglican and Methodist — celebrate Shrove Tuesday then as the beginning of the season of lent, a time to reflect and repent of wrongdoings.
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But, as Howard notes, it’s also called Fat Tuesday, a time to load up on rich food before Lent.
“For some people it’s Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, a time to fatten up before you give something up,” he said. “But to me personally, it’s a way I can contribute to my community, to answer God’s calling. I feel like it’s God calling me to help feed the community.”
The meal is always free, Howard said, and provides an opportunity for members of the church to see each other and other members of the community before Lent.
“It’s good for people to see each other fellowshipping, and it’s also good reaching out to the community as a church, serving the community,” he said. “It’s beautiful just to see all the people come and smile and enjoy good food.”
And of course, there is fellowship and tradition in the food itself, Howard said.
“Some of the cooks have been cooking the same thing for more than 30 years — sausage gravy and chip beef gravy,” he said. “It’s also a good time too for younger people to learn to cook in that old way; everything is from scratch.”