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Columbians of various faiths will meet tonight for service


COLUMBIANS of many faiths have shared Thanksgiving Eve for 26 years, and tonight they gather again.

Bahais, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Protestants and Unitarian Universalists will meet at 7:30 p.m. at the Interfaith Center in Wilde Lake.

Members of many congregations will participate, said Deacon George Martin of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, who has coordinated the service for 20 years.

But the event emphasizes faith communities rather than congregations, and all are welcome, he said.

Tonight's service will focus on "The Golden Rule: Variations on a Theme."

Young people of different faiths will tell how the message of the Golden Rule is articulated in their religions.

The speaker will be Imran Baig of the Islamic community.

A handbell choir and interfaith children's choir will perform. Donations of nonperishable food will go to the Maryland Food Bank, and offerings of money will be given to the Foreign-Born Information and Referral Network.

The Thanksgiving Eve tradition began 27 years ago, with the first few services held at Slayton House in Wilde Lake before Columbia's interfaith centers were built, said Mr. Martin, a Wilde Lake resident and Columbia's fifth homeowner.

He is president of the Columbia Cooperative Ministry, which sponsors the event.

Medieval Cub Scouts

Cub Scout Pack 621 traveled back 1,400 years Sunday afternoon, as the playground of Clemens Crossing Elementary School was transformed into a medieval English village.

Wayne Waite, the pack's outdoor activities coordinator, spent nearly 300 hours designing nine activities based on the legend of King Arthur.

The Cub Scouts, many in costume, became knights on a journey to acquire knowledge and skills on their way to a final quest.

Each den, brandishing the shield its members had created, undertook challenges such as jousting (on decorated wagons pulled by fellow Scouts), a catapult that hurled golden tennis balls, a castle dungeon and a maze made of plastic sheeting and more than 100 wooden stakes.

The final quest involved an elaborate script, as the Scouts visited five characters who conveyed important pieces of knowledge.

Diane Cohen portrayed the Knight of Notes, Mike Feraci was the Jester of Jests, Scott Harman played the Abbott of Apples, Shoshie Reshef was the Wizard of Words and Elliott Pearl played the King of Questions.

Armed with their new wisdom, the Scouts pieced together a huge puzzle that created a map to the "grail" and the ultimate knowledge:

"We can't do things alone."

Harry Heintzelman is Cub master of Pack 621.

Tom Seivert is assistant Cub master.

Restaurant events

The Harper's Choice Village Center has been getting a lot of negative attention lately.

But one bright spot is the McDonald's restaurant, owned by Cathy and Danny Bell.

Perennially busy and decorated cheerfully for every season, the restaurant is a model of community relations.

The staff posts a weekly calendar of free events for children, ranging from coloring contests to in-store video screenings to the serving of miniature ice cream cones.

Popular among older children and adults are the free bingo games from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. each Monday.

Anyone can play for prizes donated by the restaurant: a sandwich, fries, maybe a sundae.

Helen Mebert, an experienced bingo caller from New York City who lives at Hickory Ridge Place, is the volunteer caller.

Mrs. Mebert also calls a seniors-only bingo game from 9 a.m to 10 a.m. Tuesdays at the restaurant.

"They treat the seniors beautifully," Mrs. Mebert says of the staff, especially manager Vernon Bickham, assistant manager Mary Jane Hommerbocker and hostess Charlotte Minnick with her bottomless pot of coffee.

The restaurant even helps the bingo regulars celebrate their birthdays.

Monday was Mrs. Mebert's 77th, and she was looking forward to the cake the McDonald's staff would present her.

Book collection

Holly Maggio hasn't wasted any time since being appointed last month as teen representative to the River Hill Village Board.

She is spearheading a drive to collect books and magazines for the Gateway School on Route 108, which has no media center.

Reading materials suitable for fourth through 12 grades can be dropped off at the village office at 6330 Trotter Road through Dec. 21.

From noon to 5 p.m. on Dec. 9, Holly and helpers Livy Adams, Jessica Robuck and Katie Hickey will make rounds of the village picking up donations at people's homes.

Just mark your donation and set it outside your front door; reading materials will go to the Gateway School and canned goods to the Grassroots shelter in Columbia.

If you would like to help that day, call the village office at 531-1749.

Celtic Gig

Irish balladeer Ray Kennedy is on leave from Dublin's Burlington Hotel and will perform at 8 p.m. Dec. 1 at Slayton House in Wilde Lake.

His "Celtic Gig" is in conjunction with an exhibit of photographs by Columbian Natalie Harvey titled "Irish Faces, Irish Places."

Mr. Kennedy will be backed by local musicians, and the Kevin Broesler Irish Dancers will perform.

Tickets cost $10.

Call 730-3987.

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