By Joi Thomas
Faith Community Correspondent
When Metropolitan United Methodist Church gathers for worship this coming weekend, the congregation will joyously celebrate 196 years of ministry, at least 93 of them in its current location at 1121 W. Lanvale Street.
Their story began, according to their website, https://metropolitanumc.org/, with the Rev. Truman Pratt, a former slave, who held prayer meetings in 1825 in Scrabble Town in South Baltimore.
During the Civil Rights Movement, the pastor of the church, the Rev. Frank L. Williams, along with other local pastors, were visibly working for the community. Everyone who is Baltimore born and bred knows about their work, along with a group of politicians, judges, and educators called “The Goon Squad.” They fought for equality in housing, health care, education and other areas. Metropolitan also hosted the Freedom Riders and held “A Service of Triumph” in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr on April 7, 1968, sponsored by the Interdenominational Ministers Alliance of Baltimore and vicinity.
Although 2020 proved to be a challenging year for Metropolitan, as it was for churches everywhere, Metropolitan arose to the challenge and pivoted all ministry from in-person to virtual. Eleanor Brown, program chair of the anniversary committee, says that the technology team worked very hard to ensure everyone was reached. “All of our worship services, meetings and Bible Studies were done on Facebook, Zoom, Instagram, Youtube, and by conference call. During warmer weather we held service outdoors. We partnered with the Harlem Park Community Development Corporation to continue doing food giveaways in Lafayette Square using all of the safety protocols.” On Nov. 7, the congregation held its first indoor service since the pandemic began.
Plans are underway for a riveting anniversary celebration. The theme is “Celebrating the Past, Embracing the Present, Claiming the Future.” On Nov. 13, there will be a banquet at the Forum with guest preacher and former pastor, the Rev. Dr. Louis Shockley. Nov. 14 is Family and Friends Day. Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling, Washington Area Resident Bishop will be the guest speaker. The chapel of the church is also being transformed into a walk-through history of the church. It promises to be a grand celebration.
In addition to celebrating 196 years, Metropolitan still makes time to serve the community. There is a food drive being planned by the United Methodist Women. Items can be dropped off at the church on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9:30 a..m. – 1 p.m. Additionally, the Outreach Ministry is sponsoring Thanksgiving Dinner, 12:45 p.m., Nov. 21. The clothes closet is open every 3rd and 4th Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.
For more information about any of these programs or the other community events Metropolitan offers, call the church office (410) 523-1366.
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