Calvert Interfaith Council explores the power of faith

Friday, April 18, 2008

To learn more

The next Calvert Interfaith Council meets in May at Calvert Memorial Hospital. For more information, go to the Website at, or speak to a church representative.

The subject of one’s faith is often a delicate one. A discussion of it could lead to arguments, heated debates and the occasional civil war.

People of different faiths do get along. On March 11, representatives from the different churches in Calvert met at the Interfaith Council meeting, held at St. Nicholas Lutheran Church in Huntingtown. For every meeting of the Council, a different location is planned.

Founded by Father Peter Daly of St. John Vianney Roman Catholic Church in Prince Frederick, the council meets the second Tuesday of the month.

There were representatives from at least 10 different houses of worship. The members meet to break bread and discuss the agenda.

‘‘There are [at least] 60 worshipping communities in Calvert and it would be nice for all of them to participate and send a representative,” Father Daly said. ‘‘Part of our goal is to foster understanding between the faith communities.”

When the council opens up a meeting, the host church talks for at least a half hour to discuss its faith, history and tradition.

‘‘There is a certain interest for a place where the various faith communities can come together,” said Pastor Greg Gaertner of St. Nicholas Lutheran Church. ‘‘It’s wonderful to have a group in which various non-denomination and non-Christian traditions can get together and talk.”

This council opened up the discussion for several topics. One was the new project building of Project ECHO and its new building plans. Bill Stanton, a volunteer for Project ECHO discussed the new house and how he wanted there to be more emphasis on ‘‘helping the homeless become less homeless.”

The Calvert County Substance Abuse Council was also brought to the council, in hopes that there could be substance abuse ministries to reach out to members of each congregation. Tora Wright, a resident of Charles County and the representative, discussed ‘‘the power of one,” and gave a demonstration.

The Rev. Ken Phelps of All Saints Episcopal in Sunderland had two parts to his discussion. One part was how to get a congregation to connect and he used the Sunflower Cafe in Dunkirk as a model for the community to gather together.Phelps spoke on how the Sugar Plum Cafe in Virginia Beach, Va., was the inspiration. The second one was entitled ‘‘Sustainable Civil Communities.”

‘‘It’s a natural outgrowth of two things,” Phelps said. ‘‘One, that the Calvert Interfaith Council organized a world day and prayer for peace. Two, out of the Affordable Housing Coalition need. We need to rediscover the art of communication.”

Mary Anne Zaversnick of Prince Frederick discussed the Safe Nights program. Most of the council present had hosted a week for the Safe Nights. The plan for more churches to volunteer and to have a smoother system for next year was brought to the table. When the meeting was over, the feeling of Interfaith and community was felt.

‘‘I became a member because it is our job to provide services to the community and share that God loves them,” Pastor Anibel Maceira from the Calvert Outreach Church of the Nazerine in Upper Marlboro said. ‘‘I am trying to provide Spanish services for the Latino community in Calvert County. I look forward to opening up a Spanish Church in Calvert.”

‘‘I have been a part of the council since the beginning,” Vicki Rhoades from Patuxent Friends Quakers said. ‘‘I think Interfaith work is hugely important to bring us all together because we have so many more way that we are alike than different.”