A virtual Closing Service was held on Sunday, Sept. 27, with 64 members and former members of Forest Memorial United Methodist Church coming from all over the United States. At that Service, “An Order for Disbanding a Congregation” was ready, and officially closed the church.

The history of Forest Memorial, in Forestville, goes back to the horse-and-buggy era—a time of infancy for Prince George’s County. In 1816, one minister (a Circuit Rider) covered the Methodist churches on a circuit of about 600 miles. Records show that covering all the Methodist churches might take six weeks, causing Circuit Services to be performed every three weeks at each church.

A group of Methodists established a church building on the current Joint Base Andrews property. It ultimately became Chapel 2. That church was called “Old Long Fields Church,” relating to the nearby tobacco fields.

In 1885 that same congregation purchased land between Ritchie Road and Forestville Road. A concrete building was erected (still stands today) to house a Chapel and Fellowship Hall, and the surrounding cemetery. The building has currently been labeled “constructionally unsafe” because of its age. The Church Trustees have not had it removed because of the historical Chapel still there. In its recent history, this building housed a Thrift Shop, and classes of Alcoholic Anonymous and Drug Anonymous.

The present building houses not only a 350-person Sanctuary with an elegant Chancel stained-glass window depicting the New Testament, a pipe organ, and Parlor. Also, an Educational wing for Sunday School. Over the years — besides weekly Sunday Services and Sunday School — there have been service groups: Methodist Men and Methodist Women, Appalachian Service Project, Puppet Ministry, Boy Scouts, Contemporary Christians, Campers, Bible Studies, and “Young at Heart,” a monthly luncheon for community seniors. Even Our Savior’s School used the building for 20 years.

Most recent pastors: Dennis Schulze, James “Ed” Chance, Richard Craig, Dr. Robert Burdette, George Aist, Linda Rettenmayer, Ty Blackwell and Esther Holimon.

We give God thanks for a strong, influential congregation in Prince George’s, as well as in the state. At present, there are several interested groups interested in purchasing the building. We wish our next group the same success as Forest Memorial.

Thank you to Betty Cottrell for the contributing this remarkable history.

Car smashes into Suitland Rd. house

A Morningside woman lost control of her car and crashed into the corner of a house at Suitland Road and Ridgecrest Drive. It happened Sunday, Oct. 11, about 5 p.m., and it was raining. Police said the cause might have been a combination of excessive speed and a slick road. Light rain or drizzle had been falling all day.

Fortunately, no one was injured. As the shocked driver stood out in the rain staring at the damage, a concerned neighbor brought her an umbrella.

The Mercedes-Benz C300 is probably totaled and the badly damaged basement of the house is still open to the elements. By the way, Morningside Volunteer Fire Department responded in 5 minutes, or less.

Neighbors & other good people

Jack Edward Longfellow, 71, died Oct. 6 at his home in La Plata. Survivors include his wife Nancy, formerly of Morningside and daughter of William J. Gilmartin, a Morningside Councilman from1958 to 1964. Other survivors include four children, and 12 grandchildren. Services were at Sacred Heart Church in La Plata with burial in the Church Cemetery.

Father John A. Vidal has been appointed pastor of Saint Ignatius Parish in Oxon Hill, where he has been parish administrator.

I had my flu shot, administered by a pharmacist at CVS in Clinton. Because I was a good patient, I got a lollypop. Go thou, do likewise.

Changing landscape

A new community, Gateway Park, is under development in District Heights adjacent to Walker Mill Regional Park. One ad mentions 37 single-family homes, one of them going for $440,990. Thank you to Mae Boone who called me with this news.

Compare Foods Super Market has opened in the Coral Hills Shopping Center, 4801 Marlboro Pike.

Prince George’s County has plans to build new schools. Also, under the contract, some schools would be rebuilt, including Drew-Freeman Middle School (formerly La Reine HS), Kenmoor Middle School and Walker Mille Middle School.

Is this your favorite hardware store?

Clinton Hardware has “… the best customer service!” says Yvette Morris, who lives on Old Alexandria Ferry Road. “People are not only friendly but there is always someone in there to help you. Depending on what I need, I go there before going to Lowes.” She had this remark on the NextdoorMorningside website.

Several others also responded, “I go there before Lowe’s.” Ernest Canlas thinks the store “is a neighborhood gem.” His opinion was similar to 47 other favorable responses. Not a single one of the 48 who responded had a complaint about Clinton Hardware.

COVID-19 cancels Mass at Catholic Cemeteries

All Souls Day is coming up Nov. 2. Usually I’d head for Resurrection Cemetery in Clinton to attend the All Souls Day Mass, and then visit my husband Jack’s grave.

This year I can still visit him, but there will be no Mass because of the pandemic.

Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese include: Gate of Heaven, Mount Olivet, Resurrection, St. Mary’s, St. John’s Forest Glen, St. Mary’s Queen of Peace, and All Souls. They’ll be open 7:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Nov. 2.

The Catholic Standard newspaper suggests, “Come pray for your deceased loved ones, and remember all those who have died during the coronavirus.”

Milestones

Happy birthday to Daniel John Fitzgerald and Anna Norris, Oct. 24; my granddaughter Kathryn (Shearer) Garcia and Donna Anderson, Oct. 25; Linda (Ferguson) Sandoval, Juanita Starke and Christopher Flaherty, Oct. 27; Diane Cvitko, Oct. 28; my grandson Isaac Gallegos, Oct. 29; Denise Williams, Kim Miller and my wonderful daughter Kathleen (McHale) Shearer, Oct. 30.