As the Sunday service began, two leaders stepped forward with pitchers full of holy water from their two churches. As the congregation gave thanks for the gift of baptism, they poured the water into one vessel.
The unusual ceremony was meant to mark the joining of two North Baltimore churches, the Episcopal Church of the Nativity and the Lutheran Church of the Holy Comforter, that had faced declining congregations and financial struggles. The leaders of the two churches see their melding as crucial to their survival and ability to attract new congregants.
“People are saying that we’re moving to a post-denominational time, that young people don’t care if you’re Baptist or Methodist or Presbyterian,” said the Rev. T. Stewart Lucas, the rector of Nativity. “They just want good, authentic worship and service to those who are in need. So, in a way, we’re going back to the basics of studying the Word, praying together and serving together, and I think there are lot of people who are hungry for that message.”