We can do more together.
The Hagerstown Area Religious Council (HARC) is a coalition of faith community partners in Washington County, Maryland. Formally registered as Washington County Council of Churches, HARC has been active in the community since 1946 and has been recognized as a 501c3 non-profit organization since 2001. While HARC’s partner congregations can differ greatly on theology, all agree on the strength of working together to build a better community, help those in need, and support one another.
To embody mercy, justice and love as diverse faith partners in Washington County, Maryland.
We believe in the power of faith communities working together.
We strive to listen when God is speaking, and act boldly together to make a difference in our community. We build collaborations across boundaries of religious differences, as well as with community organizations, to do the work we are called to do.
We believe in nurturing the unlimited potential of every child.
We focus our collaborative efforts on building supports around and creating opportunities for children and families.
We believe all people have equal value and are loved by God.
We seek justice for those who are not treated equally or given equal value by our broken world. We strive to lift up the unique gifts and abilities of people and empower them to be who they were made to be.
We believe in equipping one another to create stronger houses of worship.
We build relationships among clergy and people of faith, and support and encourage one another. We provide information, resources, and connections to enhance the work of congregations, ministries, and community organizations.
The HARC logo was updated in 2018 by a local graphic artist. A circle is a symbol of eternity and never-ending existence shared by many faiths, and the number 3 also has significance in different faith traditions. The three intertwined circles of the HARC logo represent faith traditions that can stand alone, equally, by themselves, and also beautifully intertwine, working together to create something new. The three circles can also be viewed as the three most prominent faith pillars of the world: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
What We Do
Justice Ministry: HARC organizes the Washington County faith community for the purpose of influence, collaboration, and action around issues of systematic injustice that many of our neighbors experience.
Mercy Ministry: HARC connects the Washington County faith community to work together, engaging in hands-on ministry to serve our neighbors in need. This work includes serving hungry children through Micah’s Backpack, and maintaining a list and collaboration of Washington County food pantries, soup kitchens and clothing resources.
Love Ministry: We show the love of God by lifting up children and families and helping them to thrive. This work includes fostering programs to support parents, such as Learning Parties; offering training and resources about the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and how to build resilience; and building awareness in the faith community about the greatest needs of children and families and connecting and equipping them to serve.
Information and Resources: Find information, resources and events listings on our website. Also sign up for HARC’s weekly News Flash for a rich assortment of news, events, and information geared specifically to the faith community. HARC also connects congregations and organizations with similar passions and interests to have a greater impact in their work.
Fellowship and Support: HARC fosters activities that connect and support clergy such as a weekly trivia night, faith leaders support/discussion group and weekly clergy Bible study.
Interfaith Team: HARC’s Interfaith Team has a purpose of bringing people of different beliefs together to promote peace, respect, and compassion in our local community. Through dialogue and public presence, we welcome each person’s unique spiritual perspective, strive to learn more about each other, and seek to honor the diversity of our various traditions.
Member Meetings: HARC member meetings are typically held the second Tuesday of each month (except July and August) at 12:00 pm. Location rotates among houses of faith. Meetings include lunch, fellowship, and a program of interest to members. Clergy and lay representatives of any congregation or faith-based organization are invited to attend. Only members are eligible to vote on business.
Public Witness: HARC organizes and/or sponsors community events such as a Good Friday Cross Walk, Interfaith Community Thanksgiving Service, the Hagerstown Historic Houses of Worship Tour, and Congregation B’Nai Abraham’s Holocaust Memorial Service.