Interfaith Coalition of Washington County



The Interfaith Coalition of Washington County Maryland was formed by the Washington County Council of Churches (now HARC) in February 2002 with representatives from Jewish, Muslim, and Christian faiths to provide a forum for interfaith dialogue in our community following the tragic events of September 11, 2001.  Persons from Baha’i and Buddhist traditions as well as other religious and humanist communities participate today. We see our coalition as an outreach of the Hagerstown Area Religious Council.

Mission Statement of the Interfaith Coalition

The Interfaith Coalition of Washington County exists to bring 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. (Revised November 9, 2011)

Get Involved

The Interfaith Planning Team, which envisions, coordinates, and carries out events, meets regularly through the year. Persons interested in interfaith dialogue are encouraged to attend or share their ideas with the planning team.  Contact Ed Poling, Coordinator, at 301-766-9005 or for more information.

Statement of Peace— In light of the recent escalation in fear and hostility toward people of other religious traditions, the Interfaith Coalition and the Hagerstown Area Religious Council have issued a joint, public statement that encourages persons of faith in our community to use “language that promotes respect and civility and discourages language that demeans others’ beliefs or incites violence.” We invite all the religious leaders in our community to sign the statement to show our unity and desire to live together peacefully. Follow this link for more information and to download copies.

Yard Signs: “No matter where you are from, we are glad you’re our neighbor.” Hagerstown Area Religious Council has 18” x 24” yard signs available to show your support for diversity. The words are displayed also in Spanish and Arabic. Cost is $15. Contact Kathy Powderly at 301-842-4272 or for more information. Signs available tonight.

Upcoming Events

  • Interfaith Forum:“Can Learning About Other Religions Strengthen Our Own?” – Thursday, March 14, 7:00 PM, at Christ’s Reformed Church, Hagerstown.  Some folks shy away from studying other faith traditions for fear they will be swayed to give up their own. But coming to understand and appreciate others’ beliefs and practices can actually deepen our own faith. A panel discussion led by Don Stevenson, Gwen Skrabak, and Temm Bikle will share their own spiritual journeys. Don and Gwen both teach world religion courses at Hagerstown Community College. Temm is a practicing Buddhist monk. They all live in Hagerstown.
  • Seeker’s Circle Book Club meets six times a year at the Washington County Free Library in downtown Hagerstown, 7:00 pm Study Room 333, reading and discussing books that describe the religious life and traditions of several of the world’s religions and current issues in interfaith dialogue. Inquiries to Gwen Skrabak, 301-797-1603. Books can be purchased online or, if available, borrowed from the library.  Download a flyer.
    • Thursday, March 21—Alen Polari de Alverga, The Religion of Ayahuasca: The Teachings of the Church of Santo Daime
    •  Thursday, May 16—Sister Wendy’s Book of Meditations
  • Visit Yogaville: April 26 – 27, 2019  – You are invited to visit the first interfaith shrine & museum.Yogaville was founded by Sri Swami Satchidananda, an esteemed spiritual leader whose message of peace has been heard around the globe. Honored with the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award, Sri Gurudev dedicated his life to the cause of peace—both individual and universal—and to religious harmony among all people. The LOTUS (see flyer) is perhaps the crowning glory of Swami Satchidananda’s interfaith work– an interfaith shrine and museum built in Yogaville, VA in 1986. LOTUS celebrates the unity behind the diversity of the world religions. Open to people of all faiths to meditate and pray, this shrine uses the universal symbol of light as the symbol of the Divine. It is the first shrine ever built to house altars for every major faith and also faiths less well-known and contains many artifacts and information on them. Our schedule:
    • Leave 4/26 8 a.m. carpool to Yogaville, VA
    • Arrive in time for lunch of farm fresh food at the cafeteria, then spend the afternoon exploring the many altars of faith in the LOTUS and on the grounds, stopping to reflect, meditate, pray or just sit and enjoy.
    • Drive to 600 acre horse farm for dinner and community building and overnight stay.
    • Leave 4/27 a.m. back to Hagerstown
      COST- $85/includes meals. Spaces limited-make check payable to Washington Co. Interfaith Coalition & mail to Sandy Boyer, 10811 Bower Ave, Williamsport MD 21795. For more information contact Sandy at 240-409-5940 or
  • Next Planning Meeting:  Contact Ed Poling for time and location.

Open or download Upcoming Events document

Officers for 2018-2019

Coordinator – Ed Poling
Vice Coordinator – Valerie Wills
Secretary – Carol Haggerty
Treasurer – Salih Yumlu
Publicity – Sandy Boyer

For more information, contact: Ed Poling (301)766-9005,

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