The publication Creative Tension tells the story of the development of interfaith life in Columbia, Maryland, and examines the rich interactions of the various faiths that came together here. Mission-oriented interfaith ministries, which were groundbreaking in the early 1970s, are still very much a part of our community.
Columbia Pregnancy Center
The Columbia Pregnancy Center is an independent, nonprofit medical clinic serving women and families in Howard County. The center provides free pregnancy-related services and life-affirming pregnancy choices. Counseling and educational instruction are provided through trained volunteers. Additional volunteers provide leadership on the Board of Directors, office assistance, accounting and legal services, language interpretation, donation sorting, and event coordination.
The center collaborates with our parish on programs, obtains financial support from the Knights of Columbus, and relies on parishioners to fulfill volunteer needs. Other congregations are also involved in this interfaith ministry serving Howard County.
Contact: Nancy Vawter, Nancy.email@example.com or 410-730-3223
24/7 Hotline: 800-712-HELP (800-712-4357)
Home Repair Ministry (Appalachia Service Project and Howard County)
The Home Repair Ministry is a joint service program between St. John the Evangelist and St. John United. Although we do service projects in Howard County, our main focus is the Appalachia Service Project (ASP).
ASP is a week of service to help make homes warmer, safer and drier in the mountains of Appalachia. The program begins in October, culminating in the trip in June. Over the course of the year, volunteers participate in fund-raising events, sensitivity and construction skills training, and a Howard County service project.
St. John United began this ministry in 1980, and was joined by St. John the Evangelist in 1990 to create this successful interfaith ministry. Together we send around 60 teenagers to Appalachia each summer. Interested students and adults are invited to learn more about this life-transforming volunteer project. Read more »
Interfaith Coalition for Compassion
This nonprofit organization helps prevent evictions and utility turnoffs, helps with prescriptions, provides access to a food pantry, and sponsors monthly Hospitality Center dinners. Volunteers engage with persons requesting assistance and verify the need for the requests by making calls to the organizations where the money will be sent. This organization is supported solely by donations from a wide variety of churches and synagogues within Howard County.
Contact: Sue Carpenter, firstname.lastname@example.org and Jack Gegner, email@example.com
Interfaith Hospitality Center
The Interfaith Hospitality Center is an activity of the Coalition for Compassion and St. John’s parish. The Center provides support for monthly dinners that are open to all. Volunteers cook meals, serve, clean up and provide special activities at the monthly dinners. The Center also undertakes special programs such as school supply drives, Secret Santa Shops, and holiday gift card giveaways, which are made possible by working in conjunction with interfaith partners.
While dinners were cancelled during the pandemic, we continued to provide information about resources for families through email. We also received a grant to provide cookbooks for budget-friendly meals and ingredients for one of the meals for 66 families.
Contact: Beverly Prosen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wilde Lake Interfaith Library
The library has a collection of more than 4000 items available to borrow at no charge. The library has a large collection of books on religion, prayer, scripture, and theology. Additionally, it has books on family life, self-care, society/social justice, history, biography, and fiction. The children’s section includes both religious and non-religious topics for all ages. The library has a small but growing collection of books in Spanish as well. The video collection includes recordings of parish events, such as the Conversation Project talks provided by the Gift of Peace Ministry.
The library displays feature items for church seasons including Lent and Advent, and more general topics such as Black History Month in February, Women’s History Month in March, and the Season of Creation. Occasionally, the library holds special events, such as a children’s book reading, or a book discussion group. For the last few years, we have participated in the “One Maryland, One Book” program which supports community and conversation by selecting a topical book and preparing discussion guides and other material. Parishioners can donate a new book to the library in honor of or in memory of a loved one.
Volunteers from SJERC and SJU work together on all aspects of running the library, which is normally open on Sunday mornings from 9:00am to 12:30pm.
Update: The Wilde Lake Interfaith Library is reopening on Sunday morning, November 27, 2022 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and from 6:45-8:00 p.m. Sunday evening. We will do a second shift on Sunday mornings as we get additional volunteers to staff the library.
Please note: The Archdiocese of Baltimore requires all parish volunteers to be VIRTUS certified. Please contact the parish office for details.