DO YOU BELIEVE it's possible to make everything old new again? The members of St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Sykesville certainly do, and they now have the building to prove it.
After spending the past 6 1/2 months holding services in the cafeteria of nearby Sykesville Middle School, the congregation celebrated its first service back in the renovated church Sunday.
The entire inside of the structure, a fixture on Sykesville's Main Street since 1889, was completely renovated and brought up to current building codes. Major work was done on the church's electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems.
An elevator was installed making the building fully handicapped accessible. Several of the church's support walls and much of the flooring was reinforced to add safety to the old building.
By turning the sanctuary 90 degrees, the church's seating capacity was increased from 150 to 250. The addition of a nursery and a cry room are important features to families with young children.
Although it was not possible to reuse the church's pews, every effort was made to duplicate the pews in style and color.
"I think we came very close to that mark," said the Rev. Roland "Bud" Brown, pastor of St. Paul's.
Rather than sell the old pews or separate them in some other way, the pews will be used in a new chapel to be built at Haight Funeral Home in the near future. "In this way, the memory of the old St. Paul's church can be honored," Mr. Brown said.
The congregation began a fund-raising drive in April 1994 and quickly exceeded its goal for the $800,000 restoration. "The entire congregation has really pulled together over this project. There was no dissension whatsoever," Mr. Brown said.
The extensive work on the building was not expected to be completed until late fall, but Mr. Brown credits the architects and contractors with excellent work done ahead of schedule. "We are extremely pleased with the completed project," he said. The building will be formally consecrated by Bishop Joseph Yeakel at a service planned for early December.
Another church grows
Another South Carroll church is about to embark on a multiphased building project. Holy Spirit Lutheran Church has suffered serious growing pains for the past several years and has begun work on the first phase of its expansion project.
Using the architectural services of Arbaugh Architecture Studio in Westminster, construction was recently started on a 6,000-square-foot multipurpose addition.
This addition is designed to seat 300 and incorporates a high ceiling to facilitate indoor sporting events.
Future plans call for the installation of kitchen facilities. The addition is expected to be completed in the spring of 1996.
Holy Spirit member John Lamont has brought his 20-plus years of contractor experience to the church and is serving as the contractor/general manager for the project.
The church is grateful for the exhaustive efforts of building committee members Pat Heath, Patsy Taylor and Pastor Eugene Alexander.
Hoff earns PTA award
The PTA at Freedom Elementary began its first meeting of the new school year with an award for one of the school's staff members.
Margaret Ann Hoff was awarded an honorary lifetime membership in the Maryland PTA for her many years of devotion and service to the children at Freedom. Tina Crockett, president of Freedom PTA, presented the award to Mrs. Hoff at a recent back-to-school night.
Mrs. Hoff is in her 30th year at Freedom, where she works as an instructional assistant. She first joined the PTA in 1962 when her son Rodney entered first grade.
Lions Pride off and marching
Presenting its 1995 field competition program called The Winds of Change, the Lion's Pride Marching band from Liberty High School will have its annual extravaganza at 6 p.m. Saturday in the school's stadium.
Eleven bands from Carroll and surrounding counties will compete in several divisions. The Towson State University band VTC will perform an exhibition.
Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for ages 12 and under.