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Brethren Service Center hosts remembrance celebration

For more than 70 years, the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor has been a centerpiece of giving in the Carroll County community. This weekend, dozens of those who have helped and been helped by the center will return to the campus to reminisce about its history and look forward to the future at New Windsor Days.

According to Mary Ann Grossnickle, manager of the Zigler Hospitality Center, the event is designed to help people celebrate the history of the campus while remembering their time together.

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The celebration lasts throughout the weekend, with former volunteers, employees and those helped by the center coming in Friday and spending the night through Sunday to share their memories, videos, pictures and more.

"I hope everybody gets the chance to share their memories and histories of when they were here," Grossnickle said. "It's exciting to hear what it meant to them or why it's special and how it impacted their lives."

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The Brethren Service Center was established in 1944 by the Church of the Brethren at the site of the former Calvert College. Today, six organizations operate out of the center, including the Zigler Hospitality Center, Brethren Disaster Ministries, Children's Disaster Services, SERRV fair trade organization, Material Resources and On Earth Peace. Combined, these organizations work toward a future of nonviolence, eradication of poverty and service toward those in need.

In the past, the center was also host to the Civilian Public Service for conscientious objectors to the draft, the Seagoing Cowboys who delivered shipments of livestock to countries experiencing food and meat shortages during World War II, Meals on Wheels and a refugee program.

New details about the future life of the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor are coming into focus following an announcement on Monday by the Illinois-based Church of the Brethren, which has owned the campus since the 1940s, that it is working toward a sale of the property to a Chinese education company. The intended new use of the property? A private boarding school called Springdale Preparatory School.

Some of the attendees of the event will be former refugees from Cambodia who stayed there during that program.

"A woman came up to show her children the area from when she first came here," Grossnickle said. "She went from a detention camp to a refugee camp to here when she was 10 years old. She only spend a month here, but the place she remembered most was the dining room and eating here."

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Other events will include an ice cream social, a talk about some of the former programs, a trivia contest about the center's history and more. People will attend from as far as Missouri and Michigan, according to Grossnickle.

"This whole campus is about putting faith into action and helping people out in a real way," Grossnickle said. "...It's nice that people can come back and share with one another all these experiences and remember that it all started in this church."

410-857-7890



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