As part of our ongoing “Big 5-0” celebration marking half a century as a church, I have found myself scouring lots of historical documents that tell the story of our early days as a congregation. I continue to be amazed—and humbled—by the boldness and deep faith of our early leaders and members who dreamed of and then helped to create a faithful Methodist (there was no “United” in our denominational name yet back in 1965) worshiping, witnessing, serving, and loving presence in Severna Park.
On the afternoon of July 4, 1965, Dr. Edgar Becket, the veteran pastor appointed to form this new congregation, met with a group of 12 people on the porch of the building that had been purchased by the Baltimore Conference Board of Missions on the corner of Benfield and Holland Roads. A month later they held their first worship service there on August 8 with 94 people in attendance. And by the middle of September, they had already started a second worship service and organized youth and women’s groups.
Dr. Beckett remembers that in November they “did the daring thing and organized a Building Committee just a little after three months after we had our first meeting in the church. I can’t begin to put into the words the courage of that little group, with almost no money, undertaking a building of nearly half a million dollars.”
As we move toward our 50th Anniversary celebration and come to the end of our capital campaign, the church leaders invite you to honor the bold daring legacy of our founders by joining Club 1965. Our 2013-2015 campaign was launched with three goals: HVAC replacement, mortgage reduction, and growing the Endowment Fund. We have already made great progress!
- HVAC phases I, IA, and II are complete. Phase III is underway and will be completed this summer.
- Church and parsonage mortgages have been reduced 26% (from over $1 million to around $700K) —assisted by individual designated giving
- Capital Reserve Fund (part of the Endowment Fund) has grown 8%
Our goal is to be able to pay off the remaining balance of the parsonage loan ($135,000) by the Anniversary celebration weekend of September 26-27 and to make a significant dent in the church mortgage ($570,000) over the next 18 months. The pay down on debt will free up significant funds for mission and ministry. Right now our yearly combined mortgage payments total $150,000.
That’s where Club 1965 comes in and here’s how you can join:
- If you are new to the congregation in the last couple of years or weren’t in a financial position to support the campaign when it was launched you can make a new pledge payable over the next 1-2 years
- If you have already been giving to the capital campaign, we urge you to complete your pledge by the end of the year (or better yet, by our big celebration on the last weekend in September). Many, many thanks to those who have already paid their pledges in full – that automatically puts you in Club 1965!
- Commit to make a one-time gift of $1965
- Commit to make a weekly or monthly gift of $19.65 over the next year
- Join other church leaders in extending your current pledge for an additional year
- Make a cash or stock donation in any amount to support the campaign
I hope you will join us in honoring the legacy of our faithful founders as we keep their vision for vital ministry alive in Severna Park in our own time. We have a lot to celebrate – then and now!