New pastor enjoying diversity in Laurel and her church [South Laurel/Montpelier]

Oaklands Presbyterian Church has welcomed a new pastor, the Rev. LeAnn Hodges.

Hodges has a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering and master's degree in manufacturing engineering. Having had a successful career in the engineering field, she began to focus on the need to help people in this sometimes difficult world discover their true calling, and ask themselves questions such as "Are you the person you want to be?"


In reviewing her own life, Hodges felt the call to the ministry and began her studies at the Disciples of Christ Seminary in Lexington, Ky. She was ordained there on Sept. 10, 2001.

Since her ordination, Hodges has served congregations in Lexington, as well as in Annapolis and Rockville.


She began her work as pastor at Oaklands in January , and is enjoying the multicultural and multiracial aspects of the Laurel community, which are reflected in the Oaklands congregation. Her vision for the church is the creation of a safe and sacred place in which individuals can find physical, emotional and spiritual peace.

Top priorities for Hodges, as she begins her Oaklands ministry, include the active engagement of the congregation in the community, particularly regarding the issues of hunger and the welfare of children. She intends to continue and to expand current projects such as the food pantry and garden, and is especially interested in partnering with other community groups.

Hodges exudes excitement about her new role and the members of what she describes as "a great congregation."

Upcoming events at Oaklands include Hodges' installation as pastor on April 14, at 6 p.m., at the church. The ceremony will be followed by a reception. On Easter Sunday, March 31, there will be a breakfast prior to the 11 a.m. service.

All interested community members are invited to attend these events. More information may be obtained by contacting Sally Shiomichi,

As has been mentioned here before, Montpelier Mansion will be undergoing major restoration this year, but the facility will continue to offer many interesting programs off-site. The Chesapeake Woodturners Exhibit will be on view from Monday, March 29, to April 30 at the Patuxent Wildlife Refuge, 10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop, in South Laurel. One-of-a-kind turned wood objects will be displayed in a natural setting.

On April 15, a Tavern Games night will take place at the Russett Library, 3501 Russett Common. Featured will be old fashioned tavern games, and 18th- and 19th-century tavern music played by Bedlam. Light tavern fare will be served. There is no fee for participation.

More information on these events is available from Holly Burnham at 301-377-7817.