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

  • Annual Global Feast for Peace, September 23, 2018 5 p.m.- 7 p.m. at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 18313 Lappans Rd., Boonsboro MD (four miles from Premium Outlets, just off Sharpsburg Pike).Sharing food together in celebration of friendship and common interest is a tradition as old as the human family. The Global Feast for Peace, part of the U.N. sponsored International Day of Peace, is an evening of building community, good food, great entertainment and interfaith understanding and is celebrated worldwide.  The evening begins with guest speaker Tod Rutstein facilitating a conversation on our interconnectedness and reflections on oneness. Immediately following, a scrumptious meal will be served, with enticing dishes from India, Iran, Italy, Vietnam and more. There will also be a Japanese Noodle Float available.  Following the meal, everyone is invited to participate in a drum circle.  Suggested Conscious Contribution $10. Please r.s.v.p. to by Sept. 15th,or call Sandy 240-409-5940
  • 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, September 20John Meacham, The Soul of America: The Battle for our Better Angels
    • Thursday, October 18—Thomas Kaufmann, Luther’s Jews: A Journey into Anti-Semitism
    • Thursday, November 15—Richard Rohr, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life
    • Thursday, January 17—Lin Yutang, The Importance of Living
    • 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
  •  “The Thomas Kennedy Center” October 3, 2018, 5:30 pm at Synagogue B’Nai Abraham, 53 East Baltimore Street, Hagerstown. Rabbi Ari Plost and Executive Director Tom Riford will speak about the new Thomas Kennedy Center and Memorial Park, which honors the legacy of the 19th century state Maryland. The Center is dedicated to the ideals of religious freedom and tolerance. Learn about the developing plans for the park and education center.
  • “Women, Religion, Violence, and Power” Thursday, November 1, 2018, 7:00 pm at Hebron Mennonite Church, 13315 Highlane St, Hagerstown.  Rhoda Keener, Director of Sister Care in Mennonite Church USA will present a program on how different faith traditions deal with issues of equality between men and women. A panel of women from diverse faiths will respond.
  • Hagerstown Area Religious Council Luncheon – Tuesday, December 11, 2018,  12:30-2:00 pm. An Interfaith approach to the opioid addiction crisis. Location to be announced.
  • Interfaith Winter Retreat: Saturday, February 2, 2019, 8:30 am to 4:00 pm, Shepherd’s Spring Outdoor Ministry Center, 16869 Taylors Landing Rd, Sharpsburg, MD. Leah Rampey, former Executive Director of Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation, Washington DC will be our leader.
  • Next Planning Meeting: Tuesday, October 9 at 5:30 pm.

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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