Townsend Avenue Baptist Church marks half-century


A LOT can happen in 50 years. Half a century ago there were no computers, e-mail, microwave ovens or Ford Mustangs. But the community did have the Townsend Avenue Baptist Church, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this week.

The church, on the north side of the Baltimore-Anne Arundel border, was formed in the summer of 1948, and met at the Brooklyn home of Mr. & Mrs. Alford Miller. Land at the corner of Townsend Avenue and Fifth Street was donated to the church in 1949, and worship services were held there in a large tent.

Later that year, the first church building -- made of cinder block -- was completed. In 1960, church member and Brooklyn resident Rudy York began construction of the present building.

The church's educational building was completed in 1966.

Over the years, its congregation as been served by six pastors. The Rev. Howard Stoughton had the longest tenure, from 1956 to 1983. The current pastor is the Rev. Scott Neiswender, who has been there since 1990. The Rev. Michael Pollack has been youth pastor since 1994.

The church's goals include advocating biblical Christianity, developing a deep commitment to the Bible as God's word, teaching fundamentals of Christian faith and emphasizing missions at home and abroad.

Three families from the church have done foreign missionary work. Jim and Jan (Oursler) Ruff have been missionaries in Japan, Steve and Gayle (Stoughton) King were in the Ivory Coast, and Charles and Sharon (Yirka) Carter were in China.

The youth of the church will kick off the anniversary celebrations at 7 p.m. Friday with an all-night party. Shiloh, a local teen Christian band," will lead a prayer service, followed by an inspirational message from Lonnie Chapin, a member of the contemporary Christian band Petra.

There will be games and food, with the party ending at 7 a.m. Saturday. Children must register in advance to attend.

An anniversary banquet will be held at 6: 30 p.m. Saturday at Councill's Restaurant, 1110 E. Patapsco Ave.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $7.50 for children ages 6 to 12, and free for those 5 and younger.

At next Sunday's morning worship services, the Rev. Craig Golden, New York state's representative to the Fellowship of Regular Baptist Churches, will deliver an anniversary challenge to the congregation. An anniversary luncheon will be held at 12: 30 p.m., and the activities will conclude with a communion service at 2: 30 p.m.

All faiths are welcome to attend the celebrations. Information: 410-355-0347.

Flea market

The Arundel Village Security Patrol will sponsor a flea market from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Polish Home Hall, at Fairhaven and Filbert streets in Curtis Bay.

The cost to rent a table is $5, plus a donation of one item for the community wheel game.

All types of merchandise are welcome. Information: 410-7789-2442 between 12: 30 p.m. and 4: 30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Recreation center activities

Children ages 5 to 13 are welcome to take advantage of the wide range of activities at the Curtis Bay Recreation Center.

On Mondays, there is a basketball clinic, and karate, weightlifting and ceramics classes.

On Tuesdays, try different arts and crafts, and rhythm and music activities. Wednesdays bring basketball and table games, tennis lessons, tournaments and ceramics.

Thursdays feature volleyball leagues, and classes on dance, computers and weightlifting. End the week Fridays with cooking classes and table games

Parents must register their children and pay a one-time $1 fee. The center is at Curtis Avenue and Filbert Street. Information: Pamela Love, 410-396-1811, weekdays after 2 p.m.

St. Rose of Lima alumni

Any school that first opened its doors in the 1920s is bound to have alumni interested in getting back together.

The staff of St. Rose of Lima School, at Fourth and Jeffrey streets in Brooklyn, is looking for alumni to update its records.

Information: 410-355-1050; fax at 410-355-2408; or

A Legion New Year

Plans for New Year's Eve 1999 are under way by Sons of American Legion Post 34, which is inviting the public to ring in the year 2000.

The celebration will begin at 8 p.m. Dec. 31. Cost is $25 and will include a steak dinner, beer, soda and setups.

Music will be provided by Scorpion DJs.

Post 34 is at 5526 Belle Grove Road. Reservations must be made in advance. Information: 410-789-9682.

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