God created us equal and science can prove it

Published February 26th

by Dr. Salih V. Yumlu Abrahamic religions tell us that God created us equal. Our behavior seems to indicate that we ignore this “command” and act like racist people. If it were possible to prove scientifically that we are indeed created equal, would people change their mind and stop being racist? Due to our increased knowledge on “genome” it is possible to do so. We will start discussing genome and its content: DNA. Genome & DNA Humans, like other species, are the product of its genome. Genome refers to our 23 pairs of chromosomes containing DNA and its genes. After […]

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Joy of Giving and Gift of Hope

Published December 3rd

From Character Counts! Washington County, People of character are: Caring, Respectful, Fair, and good Citizens Parenting: The Christmas season is a great time of year to help children learn about the joys of giving and the importance of reaching out to others in their time of need. During the month of December children are excited and often focused on one thing … presents! Their wish lists are written, then they grow even longer as the month goes by! While it’s easy to place the blame on the immaturity of children for this laser-like focus, parents are presented with the opportunity […]

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Rabbi: ‘Ignorance and empty nostalgia’ do not define America

Published October 30th

by Rabbi Ari Plost Op-Ed for The Baltimore Sun October 29, 2018 When I refused to bless President Donald Trump at an Inaugural ceremony at Washington’s National Cathedral in 2017, it was precisely because I was afraid that his divisive rhetoric would lead to acts of hate such as the Shabbat massacre in Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue. Shocking as Saturday’s massacre was, it was perhaps predictable given the tweets, insults and us-versus-them rhetoric with which Mr. Trump has deepened resentment against marginalized communities. Anti-Semitism is part of that. The lead-up to the election of 2016 saw Jewish cemeteries in […]

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October is CHARACTER COUNTS! Month

Published October 4th

 CHARACTER COUNTS! would like to encourage all houses of faith to join with us to spread kindness during CHARACTER COUNTS!  Month (October) and all year by sharing this 40 Acts of Kindness bulletin insert with your congregations.

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Love does no wrong to a neighbor

Published June 26th

by The HARC Board of Directors Published in the Herald-Mail June 20, 2018 As faith leaders in Washington County, we have a moral and sacred obligation to address any action, regardless of legal warrant, that inflicts harm on the weak and the vulnerable among us. Our diverse faith traditions are united in upholding the sanctity of human life and in affirming love, hospitality, compassion and justice as essential elements of the character of God and the practice of faith. Our traditions teach, “Do not oppress the stranger nor pressure him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Exodus […]

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What to Give Up for Lent

Published February 27th

Give up watching television one evening a week Visit some lonely or sick person instead Give up looking at other people’s worst ;points Concentrate on their strong points and positive attributes Give up speaking unkindly Let your speech be generous and understanding Give up your worries Trust God with your problems and frustrations Give up hatred or dislike of anyone Learn to love instead Give up the fear which prevents Christian witness Seek courage to speak about your faith with others Give up spending so much time with newspapers and magazines Use some of that time to study your Bible […]

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Inspiration for Today – Responsibility

Published February 16th

The word ‘responsible’ is related to ‘response.’  It is a an answer to a question posed by another.  Responsibility is not something that comes from within, but is always a response to something or someone outside ourselves. We are most aware of our existence in the moment, in the now, when we are radically acted upon by something from without, when we are under the necessity of meeting a challenge with an action of our own, as is the case in every important decision. The responsible life is one that ‘responds’.  In the theological/spiritual sense… it means that: ‘God is […]

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Thanksgiving for Diversity

Published November 29th

By Rabbi Ari Plost Thanksgiving Day may have been inspired by the story of a peaceful feast, but it became a national holiday during a time of war. Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the holiday on October 3, 1863, just weeks after the Union Army of the Cumberland was defeated at the battle of Chickamauga, which involved the second-highest number of casualties of the Civil War. Battlefields of that sort, at Antietam and Gettysburg, surround where I serve as a rabbi, in Hagerstown, Maryland, and remind us of the terrible price we pay when our divisions become so great that there’s no […]

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For Our City

Published September 26th

From the ECLN: “Last year we saw the beginnings of a movement. The “For Our City” sermon series became the launching point for churches throughout our area to collectively address the needs around us. United by Christ’s love, propelled by Christ’s mission, churches have had the privilege of extending hope to a city that many have deemed hopeless.  This year, let’s keep that momentum going.  Pastors are encouraged once again to participate in the For Our City sermon series, this time focusing on the book of James. See info in the Four Our City Initiatives (page 2) and consider participating.  […]

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Will the real Christians please stand up?

Published August 29th

by Jake Caldwell (Guest Editoral, published in the Herald-Mail on August 20, 2017) The preacher obliged the odd ritual of the post-worship handshake line. A visitor waited his turn, red-faced, angry. The message had been on racial reconciliation — a timely word for a Southern congregation in the early 1960s. Not everyone was ready to say “amen” when the preacher sat down, which is a telling sign that the sermon might have mattered. He extended his right hand to greet the guest, who hissed in response: “I’m looking for a new church and seems like all I hear now are […]

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September is Recovery Month – Join us in Prayer for Resilience

Published July 18th

September is National Recovery Month. This year the theme is Strengthen Families and Communities. The Washington County Health Department will be sponsoring an event, September 8, 2017, tilted Voices of Resilience. That Friday morning Bester Community of Hope is also hosting an event tilted Healing Communities. As a way of bringing unity, the Harm Reduction Program of the Washington County Health Department Division of Behavioral Health Services is asking the religious/spiritual community to join us at these events and to celebrate recovery by offering a prayer at any services you may having during the weekend of 9/8/17-9/10/17.  Here is a […]

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Can we be a shining light?

Published February 3rd

There is no disagreement that the executive order for the Protection of the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, signed on January 27th, has caused much disagreement! There are points of agreement, though, and we start with them: The President has taken an oath of office to defend the Constitution and promote the general welfare of all Americans. Rigorous vetting of all immigrant and refugee applications is both wise and essential. Respected legal scholars and state attorneys general are making cases both for and against the legality and constitutionality of the executive order. Refugees run towards places […]

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We must ‘go forth’ in love

Published November 16th

by Ari Plost, Rabbi, Congregation B’Nai Abraham As we go forward in our journey, some of us are afraid, some hopeful, and we are everywhere in between. During such times, it is sometimes helpful to look backwards in order to look forward. Last week, we Jews found ourselves in a section of Torah where we read of the great flood. What lessons from this difficult stage of last week may have led us to hear this week’s call to Abraham, “Abraham, go forth to the land I will show thee?” What did we learn from the flood, that brought us […]

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We’re Moving Nehemiah Project

Published October 5th

Grace and peace Friends, Ministry Partners, Family Members & Fellow Colleagues in the Gospel, It is with great pleasure that I announce that we are moving!!!  After t2 ½ years of faithful ministry at the Clarion Hotel, it is time for us to move on so that we can fulfill the vision of The Life Center International. Our new location will be at 62 E. Antietam St. Hagerstown MD 21740.  We are currently working towards a building fund goal of $15,000.00.  The bible says we have not because we ask not.  I am asking if you can make a donation […]

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Collection sites wanted for 5th Annual Community Book Drive

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Encounter in the Park

Published May 4th

Did you know that Valor Ministries also uses music as a way to bless our community?  If not, you soon will… There is nothing like being in the right place at the right time.  Part of Valor Ministries outreach is through music at the Hagerstown City Park band shell.  You just never know who is passing by and connects with the positive Christian music.  That is exactly what happened one evening. A woman hurting from the death of her husband and recent job loss was wandering through the park trying to understand how her life could be such a mess.  […]

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Inspire/Ask the Pastor Vignettes:

Published March 30th

Father Collin Poston, pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church in Hagerstown, has collaborated with WHAG/NBC 25/ to produce short videos on topics of faith, hope and inspiration – themed “Inspire!” The latest “vignette” is entitled “What is Forgiveness?” and can be found at the following link/website:  . There are also other videos at the bottom of the “Ask the Pastor” page on Mercy, Stewardship for God’s Creation, and other relevant topics. Watch, enjoy, and if you like them please share them – and be inspired!

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English & More, Inc.

Published February 20th

English & More, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization dedicated to providing support to those who want to enhance their education. Our services include: supporting school-age children in reading, math, and homework completion; assisting adults to prepare for their General Education Diploma (GED) test; facilitating English language acquisition and fluency for English Language Learners (ELL) from many countries; helping adults who are preparing for the US Citizenship test. While assisting with educational goals, our personal, small group instructional style also allows us to lend social and emotional support to our students through verbal encouragement, providing a listening ear, or […]

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5 Tips for Partnering with Your Local School

Published August 19th

FCS Ministries | 08.18.15 By Shawn Duncan Working with local schools is a valuable way to engage your community. After all, it’s where local kids spend the majority of their day, and it affects families, employees, and so many others in your neighborhood. One of the most rewarding things for me in community work is seeing how churches and schools can come together. Currently, I serve on the Family Engagement Parent Advisory Council and the Interfaith Leaders Coalition for the Dekalb County School District. Keep reading at

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Be a Coach to help our Brothers and Sisters in Christ when they are released from prison

Published November 19th

Gatekeepers next step in helping ex-offenders successfully reenter into Washington County is the implementation of a Coaching program in the hope of helping ex-offenders become productive citizens within the community. Are you willing to help an ex-offender establish positive roots in the community? Research shows that contact with coaches is a predictor of success outside prison and lower rates of recidivism. The program involves coaching men and women before and after they are released from prison.  Two coaches for each ex-offender will help him or her assimilate into the local community and most importantly into a Christian church. The Maryland […]

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Community Cafe – It’s a Neighborhood Thing!

Published October 1st

Every fourth Saturday of the month, St. John’s Episcopal Church’s Trimble Hall morphs into the Community Café. The brainchild and passion of Susan and Bob Rauth, the Community Café has been serving a free lunch to anyone who comes for nearly two years. The lunch planned for September almost didn’t happen. A nasty case of flu sidelined the cooks and made preparing the food an impossibility this week. Reluctantly Susan sent out a “We have to cancel email.” That’s when the miracle happened. “Cancel? No way!” spoke up a nearby neighbor. “Every month I’ve been watching neighbors and guests enjoy […]

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The Power of Relationship: An “Open Table” Story

Published July 23rd

When M.L. entered the Cold Weather Shelter in February 2014 he did not present with any mental health or addiction issues. It was a series of unfortunate events that caused him to become homeless. M.L. suffered a stroke in August 2013, partially paralyzing the left side of his body and in January 2014 he suffered a brain aneurysm that resulted in significant neurological damage. In the months between the stroke and aneurysm his wife filed for divorce. With no place to stay and no income he ended up at the shelter. We helped him apply for Social Security disability and […]

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Rev. Ed Poling’s Holy Week Meditations

Published April 17th

Thanks to Rev. Ed Poling for sharing four terrific meditations this week at HARC’s Holy Week services hosted by John Wesley United Methodist Church.  In case you missed it or want to reflect further, here are his sermons.  We thank Ed for sharing the written copies with us as well! “The Last Supper: A Feast of Love” Part 1: Preparation Sermon 4-14-14 “The Last Supper: A Feast of Love” Part 2: Feet-washing Sermon 4-15-14 “The Last Supper: A Feast of Love” Part 3: Agape Meal Sermon 4-16-14 “The Last Supper: A Feast of Love” Part 4: Holy Communion Sermon 4-17-14

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Getting to know St. Ann Haiti outreach

Published February 19th

by Agnes Supernavage In 1997, St. Ann Catholic church started a parish partnership with St. Claire in Dessalines, Haiti. Our two parishes serve each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.  St. Ann parish is one of over 20 parishes in the Archdiocese of Baltimore that is partnered with parishes in the Diocese of Gonaives in Haiti. These partnerships feed thousands of malnourished school children and help Haitian communities “help themselves.” The St Ann-St Claire partnership uses a school-based feeding program to prevent children from becoming malnourished and to promote education. We believe that education is the way out of […]

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CMEC “Saint of the Month” Dr. James L. Farmer

Published February 3rd

Article in honor of Black History Month and courtesy of the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council (CMEC) James L. Farmer is our “Saint of the Month” on this first day of Black History Month” –February.  He was born on January 12, 1920 in Marshall, Texas where he entered Wiley College in Marshall at the young age of 14. Upon graduation in 1938 he entered “….Howard University’s school of Religion. He graduated from Howard in 1941. Rather than becoming an ordained Methodist minister, Farmer told his father he would rather fight the church’s policy of segregated congregations, and choose instead to work for […]

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How to Love a “Frequent Flyer” – a HUB NETwork “Watch List” Story by Rev. Dennis Whitmore

Published January 8th

Greetings all: The effectiveness and practical ministry tool which the HUB NETwork provides was proven this morning, yet again. At 9:15, just as Sunday school was beginning, a 60-something year old man came looking for assistance (gas & money).  Our folks made him welcome with coffee and snacks as he waited for the pastor.  One of our elders informed me of our guest.  I asked her to ask his name and go to the HUB Watch List which we keep in the office by the phone. Daniel Shearer is on the list, from Greencastle, known for panhandling for money and […]

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Circling Back to Catholicism: A Young Life Journey by Matthew Seifarth

Published December 17th

Tuesday, December 17, 2013 I come from a Catholic family. My mom’s mom was a devout Catholic, always praying for us grandkids and telling us that she loved us and Jesus loves us. My mom grew up Catholic, attending Catholic school through high school and even got married in the Catholic Church. Many might not know this (and I certainly don’t remember this) but I was baptized Catholic. My mom’s family is from a small town in western PA, a mixing pot of many different cultures, but one church. Hagerstown, Maryland – I was born and raised here, and now […]

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Reflections on the WORLD DAY OF PRAYER by Rev. Ed Poling

Published February 19th

Most of us carry around some type of personal calendar/planner, either in paper format or iPad.  Not only does it help us keep track of appointments, but gives us some interesting information. For instance, Daylight Savings Time starts on Sunday, March 10.  And March 21 is Benito Juarez’ Birthday in Mexico. (Some information is obviously more important to us than some others.) But here is a date in March that caught my eye. Friday, March 1 is World Day of Prayer.  I had heard of this before, but had no details. So I googled “World Day of Prayer.” According to […]

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Christian Storytelling Cafe – Storytelling Training Offered to Church Groups

Published January 3rd

To help fund Cafe operations and growth, beginning in February 2013, the Cafe offers six-session training in storytelling  for church groups of 10 at $500, or $10 per person per session for smaller groups, or for larger groups of up to 20 storytellers. Four levels of training are offered to churches:  Adult Beginner, Adult Bible Focus, High School Beginner, High School Bible Focus. Starting date, training days and times are to be determined by the church. Weekdays are preferred. The Cafe will provide  training only for dues-paying members for 45 minutes at the end of each monthly meeting. For details, […]

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Rev. Tim Leighton’s Bicycle Adventure

Published July 24th

Pastor Tim is riding 1,650 miles along the coast of California to raise funds for the Fuller Center.  Read his blog for his latest adventures and reason for the trek.

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Between by Rabbi Harold M. Schulweiss

Published July 11th

God is not in me, nor in you but between us. God is not me or mine, nor you or yours but ours. God is known, not alone but in relationship. Not as a separate, lonely power but through our kinship, our friendship through our healing and binding and raising up of each other. T To know God is to know others, to love God is to love others, to hear god is to hear others. More than meditation, more than insight, more than feeling, between us are claims, obligations, commandments; to act, to do, to behave our beliefs. I […]

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