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St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church

by Theresa Dardanell

Fellowship Sunday…a truly unique experience.  On the first Sunday of each month, the members of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church attend a service that combines worship and hospitality. One long table in the Fellowship Hall is lined with pastries, donuts, fruit, coffee, and other breakfast treats; members sit at round tables throughout the room and are invited to enjoy breakfast before and after the service. Worship begins with announcements and a prayer; “Sharing of the Peace” gives everyone a chance to walk around the room and greet one another; the service continues with hymns, prayers, scripture reading, a conversation about the scripture by Pastor Matthew Beers, and communion. Since breakfast continues after the service ends, nobody is in a hurry to leave.

A more formal traditional service is held on the last Sunday of every month in the church. Sunday services on the weeks between Fellowship Sunday and Traditional Service Sunday are also held in the church. Pastor Matt wants St. John’s to be a place where people can encounter God and find answers to the questions: “Why am I here, why do I do what I do, why do I live the way I live?”And they leave St. John’s knowing that “God loves me and cares about me so that I can go about caring about others and loving others.”

St. John’s history actually began in 1760 at Apple’s Church in Thurmont, when the Lutheran and Reformed congregations shared the building. In 1858, the Lutheran congregation built a new church and moved to the current location on Church Street in Thurmont (known at that time as Mechanicstown).  Over the years, the Mechanicstown Lutheran Church was remodeled and modernized extensively and also expanded to include an educational wing. In 1958, the name of the church was changed to St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. 

As a part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), members support various charitable causes. They participate in the ELCA Good Gifts Program, which supplies communities overseas with items like pigs, goats, seeds, and farming equipment to help lift people out of poverty with sustainable living. They work with the Thurmont Ministerium to help meet local community needs, collect canned goods for the Thurmont Food Bank, and make an annual Thanksgiving donation to the Seton Center in Emmitsburg. Pastor Matt said that although the congregation is small, they “try to make a meaningful impact with the funds that we have.” 

Proceeds from annual fundraising events help to support the church. If you find yourself at the Thurmont Plaza Shopping Center (between CVS and Dollar General) on the day before Easter, you will find delicious baked goods and lovely potted flowers for sale by the fundraising committee. Look for hidden treasures during their Colorfest yard sale at the church. In the fall, watch for the banner in front of the church advertising the “Party of Parties” that is held in October. Attendees enjoy a buffet lunch, while home party consultants demonstrate their products.

St. John’s Christian Preschool classes are held in the school rooms in the church building. Classes are open to everyone and are all inclusive. Classes for two-year-olds are held Monday and Friday mornings. Three- and four-year-old children attend classes on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings or afternoons.  The website describes the school’s mission as “providing a program developed and centered around God’s love of children. Our belief is that the total person must grow physically, intellectually, emotionally, socially, and spiritually in order to experience life to the fullest.” Classes for two- and three-year-old students have three teachers; classes for the four-year-olds have two teachers. Tammy Tigler, who is the administrative assistant and one of the teachers, said, “Every child is unique. We strive to meet their needs. We love our jobs; we love our kids.” Registration for the 2019-2020 school year is open now. Call the preschool at 301-271-4109 for more information or to schedule a visit.

St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church is located at 15 N. Church Street in Thurmont. Sunday services begin at 9:00 a.m., and everyone is welcome to attend. For more information, visit the website at

Pastor Matthew Beers (front row, on right) and members of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.

On Tuesday, April 17, 2018, the Seton Center in Emmitsburg hosted its annual appreciation event at Mountain Gate Family Restaurant in Thurmont. With sixty volunteers and staff in attendance, they celebrated how their volunteers’ “super powers” help to change lives every day.

From April of 2017 through March of 2018, Seton Center volunteers donated over 5,719 hours of service, valued at $97,329.68. While Seton Center approximates the monetary value of their hours, what these volunteers give is priceless. The diversity of their skills and the generosity of their spirits inspire and embolden those blessed to serve beside them.

Seton Center also welcomed its new volunteer partner, Veronica Poole, project director of RSVP (the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program), hosted by the Asian American Center in Frederick. Together, they look forward to a long and fruitful partnership in helping volunteers find service opportunities that are fulfilling and life-changing. If you’re fifty-five or older and are interested in becoming an RSVP member, either through service at Seton Center or another site, contact Veronica at 301-600-7900 or about the perks and opportunities.

Dennis, Marta, Debbie, Tracy, Angela, and Iva (pictured left) and Sisters Barbara, Nancy, and Dorothy, and Robert Riley, all enjoy the food and the company at the Seton Center’s Annual Volunteer Appreciation Event in April.

Mayor John Kinnaird

We are fast approaching the end of the year, and each year seems to pass quicker than the one before. I know that this year has been good to me, and I hope it was good for you as well. With Christmas just a few weeks away, Karen and I want to wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Christmas in Thurmont is coming up on Saturday, December 2. Be sure to stop downtown and register the kids for the many gifts and prizes. Santa will be at Mechanicstown Square Park to meet with all the children, parents, friends, and pets. The day will include free photos with Santa, horse drawn wagon rides, a story with Santa at the Regional Library, and fun and prizes for everyone.

This time of year brings with it colder weather, employment slowdowns, and all the seasonal difficulties many of our neighbors face. Please keep the less fortunate of our community in mind this winter by helping support the Thurmont Food Bank, Thurmont Clothes Closet, Seton Center, and other local charity organizations. Your donation of food, clothes, or cash can help bring joy to a local family.

I want to thank Catoctin Colorfest Inc. for the generous donations they made to our community this year. Their donations totaled $20,676.80 and included $1,500.00 each to the Guardian Hose Company, Thurmont Community Ambulance Company, and the Thurmont Police Department. Catoctin FFA received $1,146, and $4,500 to Catoctin High School Scholarships. The Thurmont Food Bank received $3,400. Other beneficiaries include $1,000 to the Trolley Mural Project, $5,000 for improvements in Community Park, $325 to the Library, and $200 for flowers and decorations in our parks.

You might have noticed that the sidewalk project on Moser Road is nearing completion. This project will improve pedestrian safety on the road and allow easy access to the Regional Library. Improvements to the Frederick Road intersection will help turns onto Moser and the narrowing will help control speeds. This project is a joint effort of the Town of Thurmont and Frederick County.

The recent Town election has returned Commissioners Hooper and Burns to office and yours truly to the office of mayor. I appreciate the opportunity to serve our community for another term, and I look forward to working with our residents, town staff, and the commissioners, as we work together to make Thurmont a great community.

Please contact me at 301-606-9458 or with any comments, questions or suggestions.

Seton Center, Inc.’s Outreach Office in Emmitsburg offers a holiday program called Helping Hands. At Easter and Thanksgiving, income-eligible families receive local food store gift cards, so they may purchase foods and prepare a holiday meal according to their unique traditions. This Thanksgiving, because of the community’s support, seventy area families participated and were able to enjoy a less stressful, more dignifying holiday celebration.

At Christmas, the Helping Hands program provides food store gift cards for meals and retail store gift cards for children, ages thirteen to eighteen, to purchase gifts. Generous sponsors also provide unwrapped Christmas presents for children, ages up to twelve. The donated gifts are arranged in store-like fashion, so parents may visit Seton Center to choose gifts from their children’s wish list.

Cliff Sweeney (pictured above) visited to drop off $1,000 in Jubilee Foods and Wal-Mart gift cards from the Emmitsburg Sons of the American Legion to Seton Center’s Director Sister Martha Beaudoin (pictured above) for the Helping Hands program.

If you are interested in participating as a recipient, call 301-447-6102 x11. To partner with Seton Center as a sponsor, call 301-447-6102 x13.

Seton Center, Inc., a leading community resource for the residents of Northern Frederick County, held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new center on Friday, August 18, 2017. The groundbreaking took place at the Seton Center’s new location, 226 East Lincoln Avenue in Emmitsburg. Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, including Sister Martha Beaudoin, D.C., Executive Director of Seton Center, and Sister Catherine Mary Norris, D.C., Provincial of the Daughters’ Province of St. Louise, were on hand to help “dig.” Seton Center, Inc. is a sponsored work of The Daughters of Charity.

“We are very excited about Seton Center’s future here in Northern Frederick County,” shared Sister Martha. “We expect construction to last eighteen months and are excited that we will be able to expand our program offerings and serve more of our neighbors in a beautiful, welcoming and efficient space. The new Center will be a boon for everyone in the valley!”

Founded in 1969 by the Daughters of Charity, Seton Center provides emergency support services and strives to be a catalyst for systemic, long-term change. From July 2016 through June 2017, Seton Center served 328 persons. Nearly 100 volunteers gave 4,957 hours valued at over $81,000.00 in support of the Center’s mission. You can learn more about Seton Center on its website at

Pictured from left are Mayor Don Briggs; Doug Gray, Morgan Keller – General Contractor; Sister Catherine Mary Norris D.C., Visitatrix Province of St Louise; Scott Bowen, MSB Architects – Architect; Sister Jane Graves, D.C., Board Chair, Seton Center Inc.; Sr Martha Beaudoin, D.C. , Director, Seton Center Inc.; Justin Doty, Frederick Seibert & Associates, Inc. – Civil Engineer.

by Michele Cuseo


Christmas in Thurmont—December 6

The 12th Annual Christmas in Thurmont event starts at 9:00 a.m. at the Mechanicstown Square Park with a ribbon cutting. This event is meant to help support local businesses by asking citizens to shop locally.  Shoppers can register for free prizes and enjoy hot cider and cookies from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Event also features a game to “find the Elf” in each participating business in order to win free prizes. Learn more about the game rules when registering for this event. Donations of warm coats and non-perishable food are being accepted at the square and Hobbs Hardware during the event.

Bring kids to visit Santa and get free photos with a Christmas stocking (for first 250) during the following times: Photos with Santa at the Square park, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.; Santa reads a story to the kids at the Thurmont Library, 1:00-2:00 p.m.; Santa visits with kids again at the Gazebo, 2:00-4:00 p.m.

At 4:30 p.m., join the Lions Club for the Remembrance tree lighting with caroling next to the PNC bank,  followed by the prize drawing at 5:00 p.m. at Hobb’s Hardware.

Call Heather Dewees at 301-471-7313 for additional information on participating as a business or a shopper.

Food Bank and Coat Drive in Thurmont

Drop-off boxes to collect winter coats and canned food goods will be available at the Christmas in Thurmont event and at many participating businesses, including Hobbs Hardware.

Organizers and businesses encourage all shoppers to bring a canned food item for donation to help with the spirit of giving for this holiday season.

Sidewalk Construction Update

The sidewalk construction that incorporates the handicap accessibility design is almost complete on E. Main Street. More sidewalk work will continue throughout November and December. Town officials ask that you please be aware of the traffic and safety issues while Thurmont gets this upgrade.

View the Town of Thurmont’s website at or call the town office at 301-271-7313 for more information.


Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot “Emmitsburg Wattle Waddle” to Benefit Seton Center

The 6th Annual Wattle Waddle will be held on Thanksgiving day.  Activities start at the Emmitsburg Community Park (parking behind Library and next to Community Pool) at 8:30 a.m. with the 5-Mile run. Walkers and spectators can enjoy an early morning breakfast from the Holy Grounds Café that will include turkey bacon at 8:45 a.m. Walkers will enjoy a walk through the grounds of St. Catherine’s and St. Joseph’s.  Proceeds from the event will benefit the Seton Center, Inc., our local non-profit organization that helps the needy in Northern Frederick County. For more information, visit the website at or call David Weigelt at 240-575-5399.

Lions Club Bake Sale—November 22

The Lions Club will hold a Bake Sale at the Emmitsburg Jubilee shopping center on November 22, 2014. Proceeds will provide school scholarship funds to college-bound Emmitsburg high school students. Any student who lives in the Emmitsburg area can apply for the scholarship.

Emmitsburg Holiday Party—December 6

Children can look forward to a magic show, photos with Santa, arts and crafts, and other fun activities to celebrate the holiday season this year. Activities start at 9:00 a.m. at the Fire Hall. Santa will arrive at 10 a.m. and stay until 1:00 p.m. The Lions Club will be collecting canned goods for their annual Christmas Baskets program, which helps approximately sixty local families in need. Drop-off boxes are also located at Jubilee Foods and other business locations.  Anyone who would like to contribute for the holidays can mail checks to:  Emmitsburg Lions Club, PO Box 1182, Emmitsburg, MD  21727.

Working Together for Park Equipment in Silo Hill

Commissioner Mellor strongly advocated for the new park equipment in Silo Hill. There was a lot of teamwork between her, the mayor, and the town staff. The playground is funded through a grant to the town.

View the Town of Emmitsburg’s website at or call the town office at 301-600-6300 for more information.