Hughes Me­mo­rial cel­e­brates 90 years

The Dundalk Eagle - - FRONT PAGE - By NICOLE ROD­MAN nrod­man@ches­

Es­tab­lished by some of the area’s most prom­i­nent pi­o­neer­ing fam­i­lies, Hughes Me­mo­rial Pres­by­te­rian Church marks its 90th an­niver­sary this year.

The church was or­ga­nized on Feb. 20, 1927, when

sev­eral lo­cal fam­i­lies with fa­mil­iar names —among them Mer­ritt, Lynch, Nor­ris and Graff — sought to es­tab­lish a Pres­by­te­rian church in a shut­tered Methodis­tEpis­co­pal church on North Point Road.

The fam­i­lies re­cruited a young pas­tor from High­land­town, the Rev. David Hughes, to their cause. The small church, then named North Point Pres­by­te­rian Church, be­gan to hold ser­vices.

It was just months af­ter the church’s found­ing, on April 24, 1927, that Rev. Hughes un­ex­pect­edly died. The church was quickly re­named as Hughes Me­mo­rial Pres­by­te­rian Church in his honor.

Through the decades that fol­lowed the church fought through lean times dur­ing the Great De­pres­sion and World War II be­fore se­cur­ing its first full-time pas­tor in 1946.

The years that fol­lowed would be a time of growth for the church. In 1958, con­struc­tion be­gan on a new church build­ing on two lots pur­chased on Spar­rows Point Road in Edge­mere. That same year long­time pas­tor, the Rev. Ira W. Mar­shall, Jr. was in­stalled at Hughes Me­mo­rial.

Un­der Rev. Mar­shall’s ten­ure, which ran un­til 1997, the church pros­pered, grow­ing to 200 mem­bers.

By 2005, the church was again fac­ing tough times with de­clin­ing at­ten­dance and in­come. Church el­ders, re­al­iz­ing that the church could not af­ford a full-time pas­tor, reached out to bivo­ca­tional pas­tor/el­e­va­tor me­chanic, the Rev. Dr. Leonard Hor­nick.

Rev. Hor­nick de­scribes him­self as a “tent­mak­ing” min­is­ter — i.e., an in­di­vid­ual ded­i­cated to preach­ing while sup­port­ing them­selves fi- nan­cially by work­ing out­side of the church. The term is de­rived from St. Paul, who spread the Gospel while also work­ing as a tent­maker.

The ar­range­ment worked per­fectly for both Hor­nick and the church.

“Part of the rea­son some churches are clos­ing is the ex­pense of pay­ing a pas­tor,” Hor­nick ex­plained.

He noted, “I was able to be the right type of min­is­ter that the church could use.”

Hor­nick worked full-time out­side of the church while preach­ing three out of four Sun­days at Hughes Me­mo­rial. Now re­tired from his full­time job, he con­tin­ues this sched­ule. A guest preacher comes in on the fourth Sun­day.

While Hor­nick leads the church in spir­i­tual mat­ters, the busi­ness mat­ters are over­seen by a group of church el­ders, among them Glen Meyer and his son Dale.

A mem­ber since 1947, Glen, who will turn 91 next month, be­came an elder in 1957. His son, Dale, grew up in the church.

“I played with my Tonka trucks while they built the church,” Dale re­called.

The Meyer fam­ily is wellestab­lished in the church, boast­ing four gen­er­a­tions of mem­bers.

“We have a spe­cial pew,” Glen said.

Dale added, laugh­ing, “Fifth pew on the right.”

The Mey­ers are among 45 mem­bers cur­rent on church rolls. Ap­prox­i­mately 50 peo­ple at­tend ser­vices at the church each week.

The church, though small, is heav­ily fo­cused on ser­vice to the wider com­mu­nity.

Among Hughes’ mis­sions is Soles for Souls, which col­lects shoes for those in need, and col­lect­ing toi­letries for Bal­ti­more’s Help­ing Up Mis­sion, a faith-based re­cov­ery ser­vice for men suf­fer­ing from home­less­ness and ad­dic­tion.

The church also col­lects back­packs and food for chil- dren in need at Edge­mere El­e­men­tary, which sits di­rectly across the street from the church, and do­nates to the St. Luke Catholic Church food pantry as well.

Hughes Me­mo­rial also reaches out to other lo­cal churches and the wider com­mu­nity through Cross Walks held each Good Fri­day, a pop­u­lar an­nual roast beef din­ner hosted at the church and through its long­time spon­sor­ship of Boy Scout Troop 427, which has pro­duced at least 71 Ea­gle Scouts since 1945.

The church has found it­self grow­ing stronger as its em­pha­sis on ser­vice has grown.

“We’re grow­ing,” Glen said, not­ing, “It seems the more we give, the more we get.”

He added, “I think it’s through our em­pha­sis on giv­ing that we’re get­ting back.”

In re­cent years, the church has done sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments to its build­ing, in­clud­ing the ad­di­tion of stones out front and a walk­way in the rear — both Ea­gle Scout projects com­pleted by mem­bers of the church’s troop.

The church has also up­dated the dé­cor and added air con­di­tion­ing and chair lifts to make the build­ing com­pletely hand­i­cappedac­ces­si­ble.

While the con­gre­ga­tion may be small, Hughes is a church char­ac­ter­ized by close ties.

“Size doesn’t mat­ter,” said Hor­nick. “This church is vi­brant; it’s healthy. It does out­reach. It does mis­sions.”

“It’s a tight-knit church,” he added. “Ev­ery­body knows ev­ery­body.”

Glen noted, “[Ser­vices] start at 10:30 a.m. At 10:15, peo­ple are al­ready lined up in the back talk­ing.”

In cel­e­bra­tion of its 90th an­niver­sary, the church plans to hold a din­ner for its mem­bers on Satur­day, Oct. 28, fol­lowed by a ser­vice — open, as al­ways, to mem­bers of the pub­lic, on Sun­day, Oct. 29.

Hughes Me­mo­rial Pres­by­te­rian Church, at 3010 Spar­rows Point Road in Edge­mere, holds ser­vices each Sun­day at 10:30 a.m., with ad­di­tional ser­vices held for hol­i­days and spe­cial events through­out the year.

Sun­day school is held prior to ser­vices from 9:45 to 10:15 a.m.

For more, con­tact the church at 410-477-3711.


Hughes Me­mo­rial Pres­by­te­rian Church’s past pas­tor, the Rev. Ira W Mar­shall Jr., with present pas­tor, the Rev. Dr. Len Hor­nick.


Hughes to­day, at 3010 Spar­rows Point Road. The church moved to its cur­rent lo­ca­tion 50 years ago.

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