Saturday, March 13, 2004

Congregations celebrating first services in new homes

Faith matters

By Karen Vance
Enquirer contributor

DEERFIELD TWP. - Two congregations will celebrate their new Deerfield Township homes next week.

St. Margaret of York Catholic Church began in 1983 with 50 families meeting in a public school. The parish decided to build a school first on the property, 9483 Columbia Road, and has been worshipping in the school's gymnasium and cafeteria.

The more than 1,500 families in the parish will celebrate the completion of its first permanent building with a dedication Mass at 5 p.m. March 21.

"This has been such a huge parish effort. We've been trying to make every member a part of this effort," said Susan Abeln, a member of the public relations committee for the church.

That same weekend, Congregation B'nai Avraham at Northern Hills Synagogue will have its first Sabbath service in its new home, 5714 Fields Ertel Road, at 8 p.m. March 19.

"It's a major change in the congregation, possibly the biggest thing we've ever had happen," said Rabbi George Barnard.

The 165-family conservative congregation, founded in 1960, is moving from Finneytown to adjust to a shift in the Jewish population to northern suburbs. It will be the first Jewish synagogue in Warren County.

"After quite a bit of soul-searching and deliberation, we feel this is the place we belong," Barnard said of the small congregation. "We want to maintain our religious character, and not just be about the numbers. But we do want to bring our faith to more people."

The congregations have several days of activities planned. At St. Margaret of York:

• Sunday: A kick-off event, ice cream/coffee bar social at 6 p.m. in the school gym.

• March 20: A parish 24-hour vigil leading up to the dedication Mass.

• March 21: A luminaria lighting leading up to the dedication Mass, presided over by Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, at 5 p.m.

Information: 683-7100.

At Northern Hills Synagogue:

• Friday: A Sabbath service led by Barnard at 8 p.m. with refreshments following.

• March 20: A Sabbath morning service with Rabbi Martin Pasternak, director of congregational services for the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, at 9:30 a.m. There will be a gala dinner that evening.

• March 21: From 1 to 3 p.m., a Torah procession, building dedication and open house, with guided tours of the new building.

Information: 931-6038.

SPRING MUSICAL: The Southern Baptist Church, Lexington and Reading roads, will host its annual spring musical at 6 p.m. March 21 with the choirs from the Jerriel Baptist Church in the West End and the Galilee Baptist Church in Northside. Information: 221-4333.

To submit religion news, e-mail or send a fax to 755-4150.

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