Greenbelt Interfaith News

    June 1998

    Churches Develop Policies for Art and for Sexual Conduct
    Greenbelt Interfaith News

    Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church in Adelphi has developed guidelines for the art displayed in its meeting house. The co-chair of the arts committee, Jane Trout, comments on the art, "We want an expression of feelings, but some of them could be disturbing. We want to educate ourselves about what constitutes art in the late nineties, but we must remain aware that our Meeting House is primarily a place of worship, not a gallery. . . . Serious complaints about art displays have been rare, but the new guidelines include a mechanism for dealing with complaints."

    Berwyn Presbyterian Church in College Park has developed a Conduct Policy in order to define the congregation's policy on sexual conduct. "This policy is not being put in place because of any knowledge about any such incident present or past at Berwyn," says the church's newsletter, Berwyn Briefs. "But we do want and need to take every precaution to insure that everyone is protected, safe, and free from anything so unfortunate ever happening here." The policy focusses on protecting children and youth from sexual misconduct.

    Greenbelt Community Church is continuing its Faith Lift! building project. The project will make the church's buildings handicapped-accessible, improve the appearance of the sanctuary, repair the pylon (bell tower), expand parking, add storage space to the social hall, and provide rooms for the nursery, Sunday school, youth fellowship, adult groups, and choir.

    On April 26, the Chalice Dancers of Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church performed their piece, "Like a Bird," in Smithsburg, Maryland. The occasion was the 87th birthday celebration for Erika Thimey, the mother of American liturgical dance. As a result of the Chalice Dancers' participation in this event last year, the Erika Thimey Dance Company now performs the Chalice Dancers' version of "Rise Up O Flame."

    Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church will publish Experiences with the Web of Life in June. The year-long curriculum for the primary grades was tested in congregations throughout the United States and Canada. The church's previous religious education curriculum, Worth and Dignity of All People, was published in 1994 and is used by religious education programs and retreat centers across the United States.


    The Rev. Sid Conger, former pastor of Berwyn Presbyterian Church in College Park, died on March 27 of cancer. A service was held for him at Berwyn; the eulogy was given by Rabbi Saul Grife, representing Mishkan Torah Synagogue and the Greenbelt Clergy Association.

    Rabbi Grife has announced that he will be moving to Philadelphia in July. A farewell celebration is planned on June 7 for Rabbi Grife, who has served at Mishkan Torah Synagogue for twelve years.

    The interim pastor of Berwyn Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Jack Wineman, will depart from the church on August 15 in order to share his wife's sabbatical leave. The church will select a second interim pastor to take Rev. Wineman's place until a permanent pastor is chosen.

    The Rev. Rod Thompson of Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church will leave Paint Branch in early July. His last service will be June 14. Rev. Thompson has been selected to be the new district consultant for the Ohio Meadville District of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

    The Rev. Sherri Cave Puchalsky, ministerial intern at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, has been selected to lead a worship service on June 27 at the Unitarian Universalist Association's General Assembly. Ms. Puchalsky will speaking on "Our Passion for the Promise."


    St. John's Episcopal Church in Beltsville has changed its distribution of Holy Eucharist at the 9:30 a.m. service. Because of the growing number of people attending the service, communicants now receive bread and wine while standing at the crossing, rather than while kneeling at the altar rail. In addition, because many families attend the service, bread is being distributed instead of wafers. "Children are literalists," comments the Rev. Katherine H. Jordan in the church's newsletter, The Epistle, "and the sharing of Eucharistic bread makes very clear to them Jesus' words, 'On the night before he died, our Lord took bread . . . and broke it.'"

    St. George's Episcopal Church in Glenn Dale has shortened its 9 a.m. service by reducing the number of Bible readings and by holding the Healing Rite after the service. The service has been shortened in order to allow more time afterwards for fellowship.

    Miskhan Torah Synagogue has decided to adopt the new Sim Shalom prayer book for its services. The older Silverman prayer book, published in 1946, is going out of print.

    News on this page is derived from the newsletters of the above faith communities.

    HOME June 1998 Index

    © 1998 Heather Elizabeth Peterson
    Readers wishing to publish or post copyrighted material from this magazine must contact Greenbelt Interfaith News for permission (

    This page is a feature of Greenbelt Interfaith News. For interfaith news from around the world, visit our home page (