by Theresa Dardanell
“Something for everyone” is a perfect way to describe the Clothes Closet, run by the Thurmont United Methodist Church (TUMC). It also describes the church, itself. When I arrived early for a 10:30 a.m. Sunday service at the church, I spent a few minutes reading the December newsletter. Along with information about the Clothes Closet and the traditional and contemporary Sunday worship services, there were details about the many weekly Bible studies and various small groups for all ages, as well as Christian education classes for adults and children, several committees, and plenty of family fellowship events.
Sunday morning at TUMC begins with the 9:00 a.m. traditional worship service, featuring beautiful organ music. At 10:30 a.m., the contemporary service begins with a group of singers and musicians leading the congregation in joyful upbeat music. After announcements by Pastor Bob Hunter, members of the congregation share messages of joy and requests for prayers. The service continues with a reading, prayers, a sermon, and communion. Everyone is welcome to attend the “Sunday school for all ages,” from 9:00-10:00 a.m. A group of dedicated teachers makes it possible to provide seven separate classes each week: babies under two years old; toddlers, ages two to four; students in kindergarten through third grade; children in fourth and fifth grades; students in grades sixth through twelfth. Adults can choose from two sessions led by C.J Cordell and Tim Olsen. Coffee and conversation is the focus of fellowship time between the 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. services.
Pastor Bob said that there are two things that the church does best. The first is that 10 percent of all gifts and tithes support Christian charities. Donations help to fund missions and missionaries, as well as local organizations, including the Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, the Catoctin Community Medical Fund, Thurmont Ministerium, the Marriage Resource Center of Frederick, and the Alan P. Linton, Jr. Emergency Shelter. The second thing they do really well is the Clothes Closet, which has been in operation for over forty years. It began in one small room, but quickly outgrew the space and was moved to a larger area when the church moved to its current location on Long Road. As the need grew and donations increased, the church built the Community Clothes Closet building, which opened in 2012. Donations from the congregation, along with members of the community, fully stock the “free-to-shop” building that is open the first and fourth Monday of each month, from 6:00-7:30 p.m., and the third Tuesday of each month, from 10:00-11:30 a.m. There is a bin outside the building to drop off donations. The mission of the Clothes Closet is to “carry God’s love to the people in the Thurmont community and beyond through love, prayer, and free clothing.”
When I visited on December 2, 2018, the members were preparing for the annual Christmas Open House. One very large room in the church building was filled with donated toys, games, wrapping paper, and decorations to be given for free to families in need. During the open house, Christmas music played in the background and childcare and an interpreter were available.
The Christian education program does not end on Sundays. There are five small groups that meet weekly for fellowship, prayer, and education. Pastor Bob leads Bible study on Wednesdays, the youth group meets on Sunday evenings, and other groups meet at various locations. Tim Olsen said that the participants in the groups support and nurture and pray for one another.
There are also opportunities for members in the kids choir, the secret sisters, and the monthly retired and senior citizens luncheon. The church also supports the Good News Club, an after school activity at Thurmont Elementary School. Monthly family fellowship events provide another way for the members to spend time together. Some of the previous events include a beaded bracelet class and Christmas caroling. The first events in 2019 will be Game Night on January 11 and Movie Night on February 8.
The Thurmont United Methodist Church is located at 13880 Long Road in Thurmont. The church is beautiful; it is large, modern, and handicap accessible. The site includes a pavilion, the impressive Clothes Closet building, and plenty of parking. Next time you have clothes to donate, remember that everything given to the clothes closet is free to anyone who needs it.
If you are looking for a church that offers “something for everyone,” visit the Thurmont United Methodist Church and see for yourself.