Monocacy Church of the Brethren
by Theresa Dardanell
The Brethren Love Feast is a reenactment of the Last Supper. It is celebrated at the Monocacy Church of the Brethren on Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday) and on the first Sunday in November. I met with Pastor Tracy Wiser and members of the congregation in June and learned that the Love Feast consists of four parts: preparation, feet washing, simple meal of soup and sandwiches, and communion. It is held in the original church building that was established in 1853. The church, which was built in the traditional meeting-house style, still contains the original pews with backs that tilt up to become tables for the Love Feast. The soup is cooked downstairs in the original kettles. Although many of the traditions have continued, some things have changed. Men and women now sit together instead of on separate sides of the church, and visiting worshipers no longer stay overnight as they did in the “horse and buggy” days.
Modern conveniences, as well as a fellowship hall and education wing, have been added to the historic building. A chair lift from the main floor to the downstairs fellowship hall adds handicap accessibility. Monocacy Church of the Brethren will celebrate its 165th anniversary this year on Sunday, December 2.
Sunday worship begins with the Christian education hour at 9:30 a.m. Adult classes focus on various topics, and children attend classes appropriate for their ages. Before the worship service begins at 10:30 a.m., the children recite memory verses that they learned during their class. The service continues with scripture readings, prayers, a sermon, and the sharing of joys and concerns, as well as traditional hymns with organ accompaniment. Once a month, a praise service features contemporary music. Bread and Cup Communions are held at the end of worship on the second Sundays in June and September and are open to all professing Christians.
Bible Study and Vacation Bible School are part of the educational program. Bible Study is held on the third Thursday of every month, from 7:00-8:30 p.m. Each lesson is a self-contained study of a particular topic like doubt, procrastination, failure, or jealousy.
Vacation Bible School for children will be held this year from July 18-21. The theme is “Rolling River Rampage — Experience the ride of a lifetime with God.” All children are welcome to attend. Sign up online or call Deb Eyler at 301-271-7396.
Pastor Tracy said that Monocacy Church of the Brethren is “a small country church but very much a family church.” They celebrate member birthdays once a month after Sunday services, and enjoy summer picnics and Christmas socials. On Sunday July 22, they will meet at Mount Tabor Park to participate in the annual “Worship in the Park,” which combines worship with a picnic. Many of the members are also active with the local fire department. The Ladies Aid Committee and Outreach Committee members hold bake sales, yard sales, and auctions to raise funds that are used to help church and community members in need. The Thurmont Food Bank, Heifer International, the JoyEl ministry, and Operation Christmas Child are also recipients of the generosity of the congregation. Last year, fifty-three shoe boxes were assembled and donated to the Operation Christmas Child organization.
Everyone is welcome to attend the Brethren Love Feast, Sunday worship service, Worship in the Park, Bible Study, Vacation Bible School, and Church Picnic. The church is located at 13517 Motters Station Road in Rocky Ridge. You can reach the church office at 301-271-3588.
Their very informative and up-to-date website at monocacychurchofthebrethren.org provides details about all of their worship services and events, as well as photos, sermons, history, newsletters, and more.
Pastor Tracy Wiser (center, behind podium) is pictured with members of the Monocacy Church of the Brethren.