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Emory Grove welcomes public to summertime events

Most of the year, Emory Grove in Glyndon — which opened roughly 250 years ago as a Methodist camp meeting ground and was the site of many revivals — is closed to the public. But several times throughout the year, particularly during the summer, the association hosts events and opens their celebrations to the community.

"We have a treasure that needs to be shared," said Kathy Mellott, president of the Ladies Auxiliary of Emory Grove, which is now run by the nondenominational, nonprofit Emory Grove Association of Baltimore, whose members pay to maintain the property and live in the 47 historic cottages on the grounds.

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Here are some of the special events planned for coming months, and everyone is invited.

Fourth of July

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Since 2010, when the Fourth of July fell on a Sunday, Emory Grove has offered a "Sonrise" service for Independence Day that takes place at 7 a.m. rather than actual sunrise, and combines a church service with a patriotic message.

Mellott said she couldn't think of a better way to celebrate a national holiday than by including God.

The Rev. Blango Ross Jr., pastor at Strawbridge United Methodist Church in New Windsor, will give the sermon at this year's Fourth of July service.

"Giving a sermon at the historic Emory Grove grounds in Glyndon is always refreshing and spirit-filled," Ross wrote in an email. "Emory Grove was the venue of countless revivals and camp meetings in times past, and when one stands to proclaim a message of faith and hope in that setting, it feels as if all those old revivalists, evangelists and preachers are standing with you."

Ross said his message for the day will be "One Nation Under God," based on a study he just completed at his church.

"In our nation today, many issues seem to be dividing us and we need to remember that we truly are One Nation," Ross wrote. "We also appear to be replacing or removing God from our culture or way of life and I want to remind hearers that the same attitude did not bode well for the nation Israel in the scriptures."

Blueberry Bake Sale

From 2 to 4 p.m. July 19, Emory Grove will have its annual Blueberry Bake Sale, which has become a new tradition and fundraiser by the Ladies Auxiliary of Emory Grove.

"One of our members of the association lives in New Jersey and comes to enjoy her cottage in Emory Grove and she offered to bring some New Jersey blueberries with her," Mellott said of how the sale was started several years ago.

The auxiliary members team up to make blueberry pies together, which are sold whole or by the slice, and then some women make other items on their own to sell, such as muffins or preserves. Blueberry sundaes and blueberry pie a la mode are a crowd favorite.

"It's not a big event but it's a popular event," Mellott said.

Choir Fest

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This is the fourth year for the Emory Grove Choir Fest, which will be held from noon to 8:30 p.m. July 26, and allows people from all over to join together as a choir for one day.

"It's almost a magical time — people who have never met each other come together at around noon and are given music, and they form themselves into a choir on the stage of the tabernacle and the choir director magically transforms them into a choir that is able to give a concert that evening at 7:30 p.m.," Mellott said.

This year the Choir Fest will be led by Tyler Canonico, who grew up attending Sunday night services and Wednesday night hymn sings at Emory Grove with his grandparents and mother.

Canonico recently graduated from Lebanon Valley College with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in organ performance and sacred music. While there, Canonico was the director of traditional music and organist at First United Methodist Church in Palmyra, Pennsylvania, where he conducted four vocal choirs and the handbell choir. In August, he will be moving to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to work on obtaining a Master of Music degree from the University of Alabama.

Canonico said he was thrilled by the opportunity to lead the Choir Fest.

"There is a challenge when being a guest conductor, especially when the group is forming for the first time," Canonico wrote in an email. "Our job as the conductor is to help the singers sing as a group and work together. We have to blend and be musical. It is a fun challenge and I am looking forward to getting to work with everyone. It will be a fun day and an exciting concert."

The choir fest participants will practice from 1 to 5 p.m., and then a dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m. Guest speaker Shelley Sterner will give a talk before the free concert at 7:30 p.m., Mellott said.

Afternoon tea

An afternoon tea from 3 to 5 p.m. Aug. 2 requires advance registration because the spots quickly fill up, Mellott said.

"Our afternoon tea is very popular," she said. "It is truly enchanting."

The tea is served on the porch of the former hotel at Emory Grove, and each table has its own quirky setting of mismatched teacups and varying tablecloths.

The tea was started by longtime Emory Grove resident Bea Badders, who passed away in June. Mellott said this year's tea will be dedicated to Badders, who insisted on the charming details of the event, such as having a maitre de in cummerbund and bowtie, and another volunteer who is dedicated solely to keeping the water for the tea at the perfect temperature.

The tea includes finger sandwiches and scones, cookies and chocolate-covered strawberries, as well as hot tea and iced tea for those who prefer a cold drink. An ensemble from the Baltimore Flute Choir plays from table to table, Mellott said, and the afternoon has a lovely ambience.

The cost is $22 per person.

Bible school

All Saints Episcopal Church, in Reisterstown, with the help of several other churches in the area, sponsors an annual vacation Bible school week at Emory Grove, which will run from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Aug. 4-8 this year.

Mellott said Emory Grove likes to open its property for the VBS so they can take advantage of the wide open spaces on the property, and the children give back to Emory Grove through improvement projects they perform during the VBS.

"One year they put hanging crosses under trees all over the place, so when you walked through Emory Grove, you saw little crosses hanging in the trees," Mellott said. "One year they planted flowers just outside the tabernacle, up to the path, and it just bloomed beautifully."

Anyone interested in more information or registering a child should contact Heidi Conley, VBS director, at 410-833-0700 or sonshiine@aol.com.

Pancake breakfast

While the women of Emory Grove often get together to cook, the Sunday of Labor Day weekend — Aug. 31 this year — the men prepare a breakfast for the women. And the public.

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"The men do the buying, the men do the cooking, the men do the serving, the men do the cleaning up — and I love it," Mellott said with a laugh.

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The breakfast is available from 8 to 11 a.m., she said, and includes pancakes, fruit cups, juices and coffee. Emory Grove asks for a donation of $8 per person.

Carrie Ann Knauer writes from Westminster. Contact her at carrie.knauer@gmail.com.

More information

A complete schedule of summer events for Emory Grove can be found online at http://www.emorygrove.net. For more information on any event and to register for the tea, call 410-833-3256. Emory Grove is located at 102 Waugh Ave., Glyndon.

Regular summer events at Emory Grove

Hymn sings are held at 7:30 p.m. every Wednesday from July 9 to Aug. 27 in the tabernacle. Attendees can call out favorite hymns for the group to sing together, and a special guest musician or musicians performs some special pieces each week.

Sunday evening services are held at 7:30 p.m. every Sunday from July 6 to Aug. 24 with visiting pastors and musicians presenting each week. A Sunday morning service will also be held at 9:45 a.m. Aug. 24.

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