I'VE JUST returned from the post office with my first sheet of the new first-class stamp honoring hospice care.
"The United States Postal Service receives about 40,000 requests a year for commemorative stamps," said Barry Riggins, Annapolis postmaster, "so this is a very selective process. We hope this stamp helps to raise awareness of hospice service."
The stamp, introduced to this region Feb. 10, depicts a white house against a background of green trees and lawn. A sweeping path draws you "home."
We can tell where the hospice patient is because a light is on in an upstairs bedroom. Hovering protectively above the house and its residents is a symbol of spiritual release, one often used to promote hospice activities: a brightly colored butterfly.
The stamp celebrates 25 years of hospice care in the United States. The hospice movement began in 1967 when Dr. Cicely Saunders founded St. Christopher's Hospice in London.
Locally, the movement arrived in 1979, when Arundel Hospice opened in a tiny suite of offices on Benfield Road.
The name was changed to Hospice of the Chesapeake on Dec. 31, 1991.
Anne Arundel has two hospices: One associated with Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, and Hospice of the Chesapeake in Millersville, directed since 1993 by Erwin E. Abrams.
Under Abrams' leadership, the organization is expanding services.
Ohio choir visits Maryland
The Springfield, Ohio, Wittenberg University Choir will perform at 7: 30 p.m. March 11 at Our Shepherd Lutheran Church on Benfield Road.
Directed by Donald A. Busarow, the 68-year-old choir is known around the world. It has performed in Europe, Asia and Africa.
During this year's tour, the choir will also perform in Washington, North and South Carolina, Georgia and Ohio.
Earning a spot in this choir is no easy accomplishment, says its director of 17 years. Members earn annual appointments to the group, with selection based on talent and musical knowledge.
As one critic noted, "They don't just sing the notes, they try to convey the true meaning of the music to the audience "
Admission is free, but an offering will be taken to help with choir expenses. Information: 410-647-1658.
Pub Date: 2/25/99