Monday, August 13, 2007

Annapolis Capital September 9, 2006

Community's well-kept secret endures


Rising among the trees at the intersection of two narrow winding roads is a small Gothic chapel little known outside the heavily wooded waterfront Annapolis community where it has stood since 1953.

The picturesque Epping Forest Chapel, sometimes called "the chapel in the forest," has been in place for two generations of residents who have financially supported its existence while half-heartedly attending its services.

Today the chapel is open for worship at 9:30 a.m. on the second and fourth Sundays of each month.

"We can vary between three and 15 at a service," said the Rev. Kenneth Foor, a community resident who fills the pulpit on the second Sunday. "But when we have a special occasion, like Christmas or Easter, we have a full house."

A turnout of 50 or so would fill the neat rows of pews that line both sides of the center aisle. One of these special events was the dedication of the new stained-glass windows in May, when the church was packed.

The windows, a gift from the residents, were the final piece of a major restoration that was done in 1999 and 2000. Everything was renewed and freshened with the exception of the Gothic-style glass windows at the front of the chapel, behind the pulpit.

"The original windows were opaque like those along the sides," said the Rev. Foor. "They were replaced with clear glass that looked out on to the surrounding trees. But members thought they would like to see a stained-glass window there."

The chapel committee sent out a notice for donations, as it had for the renovations and for the chapel construction itself, and residents opened their pocket books to finance the $10,000 project. The design agreed on was Christ as the Good Shepherd, and the assignment was given to the Art Glass Studio of Ellicott City.

"The people here are so wonderful - we put out a sign for contributions and people go by and give us the money we need," said Jeanette Mudd, treasurer of the Epping Forest Chapel Committee.

"Everyone who sees the window loves it," said the Rev. Foor. "It's comforting, inspirational and assuring. Christ holding the lamb is representative of all of us."

The chapel owes its existence to Harry Spencer, a resident in the 1940s who was plagued by arthritis, sometimes so crippled that he was forced to use a crutch, according to Florence Mulhern, who wrote a small booklet, "The Chapel in the Forest," describing its history.

Although Mr. Spencer lived in Epping Forest for only 10 years, he "had an unshakable belief in God and in his community's need for a place to worship," according to Ms. Mulhern. "He wanted the chapel to be a replica of the chapel in Epping Forest, England, which he attended as a boy, and with that memory to guide him, he drew up two plans for the Board of Directors to consider, one simple, one more elaborate. The simpler plan was chosen."

Mr. Spencer donated two lots for the chapel and set about not only building the structure but also raising money. Another resident contributed two lots, which were raffled off with tickets costing $1 apiece. The effort raised $600. The chapel's cornerstone was laid in 1951. Mr. Spencer died in 1955.

After its initial success as a community place of worship, the little chapel became neglected in the later years of the century when the summer residents, who at one time made up the majority of the homeowners, started staying year-round and joined churches elsewhere. However, it has become a choice location for christenings, weddings and memorial services.

"Attending services here feels like home," said the Rev. Foor, a resident for 23 years and ordained pastor of the Institute of Spiritual Development in Washington.

He shares the monthly pulpit with the Rev. James Mitchell of Heritage Harbour, a retired pastor who preaches on the fourth Sunday.

The Epping Forest community bordering the Severn River was founded in 1926 with the first sale of lots. It was strictly a summer community until after World War II when many residents began living in the hilly, forested community full-time.

Published 09/09/06, Copyright © 2007 The Capital, Annapolis, Md.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Chapel Order of Service for August 12, 2007

Opening Hymn #204 "Rock of Ages"


Lord's Prayer

Responsive Reading #678 "God's Goodness"

Hymn #622 "Gloria Patria"

Scripture Reading: Luke 12: 32-40


Offeratory Hymn #624 Doxology


Healing Prayer


Hymn # 393 "Nearer My God to Thee"

Homily "God's Benevolence"

Closing Prayer


Closing Hymn # 356 "Under His Wing"

Early Sunday morning

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Article in Annapolis Capitol Newspaper 10/8/2006

CHURCH: Mr. Kenneth Foor is the pastor at the Epping Forest Chapel in Annapolis. He is also an active Minister, Teacher, Chair of the Wellness & Healing Committee and Treasurer of the Board of Directors at the Institute for Spiritual Development in Washington, D.C. Rev. Ken began serving the Epping Forest Chapel in 2004 as a substitute minister and became pastor in October 2005.

EDUCATION: Graduated from Beall High School in Frostburg, Md.
and has a bachelor’s degree in Business and Accounting from the University of Maryland. Ken was ordained in 2002 from the Institute of Spiritual Development, a non-denomination church. He also studied at Sancta Sophia Seminary.

BACKGROUND: Born in western Maryland, he’s married to Rev. Sherry Foor. Ken was Chaplain of his high school class and has also served as Chaplain for other organizations. He has been the CIO and Director of Information Technology (IT) at the District of Columbia Courts until his retirement in 2006. He has performed numerous Civil Marriage ceremonies while working for the District of Columbia. In the Air Force, Ken served as a policeman in the K-9 unit. Ken’s primary career has been in the computer field where he programmed and developed computer systems. He has been a project manager, technical manager and head of several IT departments. Ken has always been interested in God’s gift of healing. He has become certified in eight different healing techniques as well as pastoral and spiritual counseling. Ken also served as President and Treasurer for the Board of Directors of Epping Forest, Inc.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Reducing my private CPA and consulting practice to make time for ministerial studies and preparing for a new career as a full time pastor.

LONG RANGE GOAL: To establish a Spiritual Healing Center and bring Spirit into as many people’s lives as possible by counseling, teaching and performing marriages, christening and memorial services.

LIKES MOST ABOUT THE JOB: Presenting uplifting and inspirational homilies, singing beautiful gospel music and seeing the magic of Spirit working in people’s lives.

LEAST LIKE: Having too few attend Sunday service.

WHY CHOSE CAREER: He was baptized and raised in a Southern Baptist Church where he was a student minister. He lost interest in religion after leaving home to enter the Air Force, college and building a career. After attending classes and services at the Institute for Spiritual Development, he felt like he had returned home and wanted to serve God. He met many retired people who were serving as active ministers and teachers. His mentor, Rev. Jane Grey who was ordained at the age of 79, inspired him and demonstrated that one is never too old to serve God.

FAVORITE SCRIPTURE: Matthew 7 7-8: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened”. This is an example of God’s promise and key to all God’s wonder and wisdom.

HOBBIES: Sailing, fishing, reading and learning new healing modalities.

Chapel History From the Epping Forest News, March 1958 and updated in 2000:

In the summer of 1950 ground was donated by Mr. H. H. Spencer for a site for a on-denominational church. A request was made for contributions and for volunteer help when construction was to begin. Work was started on November 6, 1950 with the felling of sixteen trees, the trees themselves paying the operator for the work. Grading was begun on November 24 and the following August 19th the cornerstone was laid. Mr. Spencer, at that time in his 80's, almost single handedly built this monument, with assistance on weekends from Mr. Angle and Mr. Irwin.

When funds became low, Mr. Cohill chanced off two turkeys and realized $213.25; Mary Spencer, Jean Rhodes, Ave Harrison and Peg Cohill held a Rummage Sale which resulted in a total collection of $82.60. Mr. Crampton contributed the hardware; Mrs. Simmons gave a large Bible; Miss Price donated two lots which were raffled off.

On July 12, 1953, the first service was held with about 50 people in attendance. Through the efforts of Doris Knackstedt, an electric organ was obtained and Mr. Nickerson and Charlie Fitzgerald graded and seeded the Chapel lawn. Mr. Goodman installed the oak slab walk which has since been replaced. The first wedding was on July 3, 1954 when Lois Thomas was married.

In 1954, the building was still very rough and unfinished inside, and the outside was drab - without paint or shrubbery. Since that time, electric ceiling lights have been installed, interior painted, floor carpeted, outside finished with stucco and concrete steps and walk added. The inside trim, including screens for the windows have been completed, the work having been done by Williams Bros., Inc., the contractor who erected the new addition to the Clubhouse, and the plastering of the inside walls by Mr. Howard D. Zook of Epping Forest, all of which have immeasurably improved the appearance of the Chapel. At that time, the Chapel Committee's next goal was to secure pews to replace the temporary benches that were in use since the Chapel opened. Pews were obtained and are still in use today.

In the summer of 1999, the Chapel asked the community for donations to make improvements to the Chapel. In April of 2000, the Chapel was rededicated after improvements were made to the interior and exterior of the building. Because of the kind generosity of many Foresters, the dry wall ceiling was replaced with a cedar one, air conditioning was installed, and both the interior and exterior walls were refurbished and repainted. An outside light was installed and a Chapel sign was erected. The community should be indeed be proud of its Chapel, its zealous and hardworking Chapel Committee, and finally the fellow Foresters who have given so generously of their time and money to the successful completion of this spiritual monument.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The Chapel in the Forest

Book Cover
Copyright 2001 by Florence Mulhern All Rights reserved

Forence Mulhern has donated her time and effort to write the history of the Chapel. This book will be provided to all of those who graciously donated to the restoration of the Chapel. For those who would like additional copies or did not have an opportunity to donate towards the restoration, copies will be available at various community events or from the Chapel committee for a donation to the Chapel.

"Completed in 1935, the Epping Forest Chapel has been for nearly half a century a focal point of this small forested community and a center of its spirit and religious devotion. It is a monument to its builder, Harry Spencer who struggled against great odds and doubts to build it. Restored in 1999-2000, it is also a tribute to the donors and volunteers who have given it a new life for the twenty-first century." "Here is the story of t he Epping Forest Chapel, its good times and bad, from the dream of one man to the pride of an entire community for generations to come."