Maryland Presbyterian Church members, pastor 'go green' in big way [Loch Raven]

The Rev. Mary Gaut has been accepted as a 2014 fellow by GreenFaith, an interfaith organization promoting environmental stewardship. The GreenFaith website says "the Fellowship Program is the first comprehensive education and training program in the US to prepare lay and ordained leaders from diverse religious traditions for religiously based environmental leadership. The Fellowship curriculum is designed to integrate historical perspectives, scientific information, socio-economic considerations, religious, ethical, spiritual and practical dimensions."

Gaut, pastor at Maryland Presbyterian Church at 1105 Providence Road, said the church congregation has a history of caring for the environment. It was named a Great Green Congregation by the National Council of Churches and has denominational certification as an Earth Care Congregation. In addition, the church property is a certified wildlife habitat.

Gaut said she has become a GreenFaaith fellow "not simply out of a personal interest in environmental issues and love of nature." Rather, she feels "that creating a sustainable environment is perhaps the most urgent moral issue of our day."

She says issues of "global poverty, war and peace, and hunger" are rooted at least partially in environmental issues.


"We live on one small planet," Gaut says, "and if its health is compromised beyond an increasingly close tipping point, the future will be grim."

Some of the church's activities that have a positive effect on the environment include composting paper recyclables at the church and keeping a hive of bees. A summer camp sponsored by the church allows city kids to learn about the bees and life forms in the wood adjoining the church as well as to play a relay game that teaches recycling. In addition, the church hosts an annual environmental film festival.

For more information about the GreenFaith program visit the website.

Nature lovers with free time may find the perfect volunteer job at Cromwell Valley Park. Volunteers are needed to count the birds and species that visit the feeders outside of Willow Valley Nature Center for one hour per week on either Tuesday or Wednesday from this month through early April. The statistics are being collected for Project Feeder Watch at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The FeederWatch website explains the "data help scientists track broad scale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance."

Volunteers are asked to commit to one hour on either Tuesday or Wednesday for observing that can be done from inside the heated nature center. To sign up, contact park naturalist, Gianina Dotterweich at or 410-887-3014 as soon as possible.

In order to offer young adults something to do on Saturday nights, Arnolia United Methodist Church will host a coffee house on various Saturday nights throughout the year. The first one will be this Saturday, Nov. 9 from 6 to 8 p.m. The coffee house will feature the church's contemporary band, Rejuvenate. The band has with five musicians, four as vocalists with some doubling as instrumentalists playing acoustic guitar, 12-string guitar, mandolin, banjolele, piano, and percussion. They will play a mixture of contemporary Christian music, classic pop and folk covers as well as several arrangements written by Rejuvenate's director, Jarrett Rettman.

The audience will have the opportunity to perform in the open mic session. Singers, instrumentalists and poetry readers are welcome There is no admission charge and coffee, tea, hot chocolate and other warm drinks will be served. Baked goods and other light fare will be sold.

Rettman said, "The Coffee House Night was a concept I've wanted to bring to Arnolia for several years. Our hope is to provide a place for young people to feel warm and welcomed on a chilly Saturday night." The goal is to offer the venue on the first Saturday of the month after the holidays. The location is Wilson Hall, located at the rear of the church at 1776 E. Joppa Road. Area young adults are welcome. For more information, call the church at 440- 665- 7005 or go to the band's website

The public is invited to a concert by organist Dr Mary Beth Bennett, recognized performer, composer and improviser who has performed for various institutions in Washington, D.C., including including the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and as ceremonial organist for the United States Department of Defense. The concert, in celebration of the fifth anniversary of the dedication of the Schantz pipe organ at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10, at the church, which is located at 8501 Loch Raven Boulevard. A reception will follow.

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