Berlin Church Eyes Community Service In Trying Time

Berlin Church Eyes Community Service In Trying Time
One of the newly illuminated stained glass windows at Stevenson United Methodist Church in Berlin is pictured. Submitted Photo

BERLIN – A local church is looking to encourage the community with lighting and music.

Every day during the pandemic shutdown, Stevenson United Methodist Church will ring bells and illuminate its stained glass windows and façade as a display of hope and faith.

Congregant Beth Sise said members Ty Thompson and Kathy Azbell came up with the idea to project lighting and music from the church. In March, she approached the church council with their ideas in an effort to serve the community.

“It’s a time when we need it now more than ever,” she said.

With the support of Pastor Ron Schatz and the council, the church had interior lighting installed for the stained glass windows, and Thompson found a digital app – eCarillon – to broadcast faith-based music through the church’s bell tower speakers.

Landscape lighting for the facade will be installed in the coming weeks.

“We are a church at the center of Berlin, the center of our community …,” Sise said. “This was a physical way of bringing light to downtown when the stores are closed and music when the streets are quiet.”

Sise said bell music will be broadcast from the church bell tower each hour from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the pandemic shutdown. At night, the stained glass windows and façade will be illuminated for the community to view.

“It’s a dark and fearful time,” she said. “If we can light up our windows and give people hope and remind them to rely on their faith, we can reach our community.”

Although all gatherings at the church have been cancelled, Sise said Stevenson United Methodist continues to serve the congregation and community with live-streamed Sunday services online and drive-thru food pantries.

On March 26, for example, Stevenson United Methodist’s Spirit Kitchen partnered with the Maryland Food Bank, Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services, the Berlin Police Department, the Town of Berlin and Hope4Recovery to give away more than 6,000 pounds of food to 175 families during its first drive thru pantry event.

“It was important to our pastor that we continue with our ministries and not shutter our doors,” Sise said.

For more information on Stevenson United Methodist Church, visit

“I hope it serves as a reminder to everyone that we are here,” Sise said. “When our doors are open again, they can come inside and worship with us.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

Alternative Text

Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.