Blue House Clothing Ministry
23 W. Lee Street . Bel Air, Maryland 21014 . Phone: 410-838-6444
Monday 9:30-11:30 AM, 5:30-7:00 PM
Thursday 9:30-11:30 AM
3rd Saturday 10:00-Noon
The “Blue House” of Church of Reconciliation
An Interview with Fr. Rob Northwood
By Fr. J. D. Welch
• “What is the “Blue House”? What ministry of Church of Reconciliation is located there Fr. Rob?
“The ‘Blue House Clothing Ministry’ is our parish’s corporal ministry to “clothe the naked” as our Lord Jesus taught us. (As well as feed the hungry, etc…). This ministry has been a vision of ours from the beginning of our parish, when we were just a mission-work over ten years ago. It used to be housed in a parishioner’s home and was called the “Rack of the Lamb”. But we needed more space and a more public location to minister to those in need.”
• Do the clothes cost anything to the clients?
No! All clothes are free of charge to anyone who needs them. All they have to do is stop by the Blue House and make their selection.
• Where is it located?
“It’s located in the heart of downtown Bel Air just across the street from our parish, at 23 W. Lee Street. We rent the building from the city of Bel Air, but it needed some renovation before we could open its doors.”
• What had to be done to get the building ready to use?
“Because of years of neglect, non-use and frozen pipes, we had to put in new sheet rock for the walls. Then it had to be spackled, sanded, painted, and shelving built for the clothing. Fr. Jeff McFillin (assistant Priest at Reconciliation, and house-parent at “Sparrow House” ministry) led this work with George Fischer a member of our parish. Some people needing community service also helped a great deal, for which we are very thankful.
• What is your biggest need right now?
It would be so helpful if there was someone in every school who would organize a Spring and Fall Clothing Drive to benefit Blue House. That way, there would be a continuous flow of clothing coming into Blue house from the community.
We are mostly in need of children’s clothing right now, especially boys’ sizes 4-16 and teen girls’ clothing as well. Anyone can come by any time we are open and drop off clothes to give away. The clothing must be clean and in good usable condition and it is a great help if they are separated by category and size, although this is not mandatory. The clothing should come from pet-free, smoke-free households so that those who have allergies won’t be adversely affected. Due to limited storage space only clothing for the current season will be accepted. All donors will get a receipt that can be used for tax deductions.
• When is The Blue House open? Can people drop off clothes to give away there also?
“The Blue House is open:
Mondays 9:30-11:30 a.m. and 5:30-7:00 p.m.
Thursdays 9:30-11:30 a.m.
3rd Saturday of each month from 10.00 a.m.-12 noon. Yes people can drop off clothes to give away at those times as well as stop by to browse for what they may need.
• Who helps with the ministry?
“Connie Green from New Hope Baptist Church has taken a great leading role at Blue House and we have many others from different churches helping with the ministry such as Gwen Liebig from the Church of Reconciliation, Laurie Wallis from Mountain Christian Church, and Frieda Smith from New Hope Baptist. In the past, the Girl Scouts were a big help to us as well. There are plenty of spots to help, and we are inviting other churches and church people to help with this community ministry. So if you want to volunteer (and you are a good “folder”), please see me (Fr. Rob Northwood) at our Church office at 128 N. Bond Street, or call 410-838-6444.”
• What does the future hold?
“We are hoping that more people will utilize this resource and that as more people donate their time, Blue House will be able to be open more hours and additional days of the week. We’d also like to see other churches get involved, either as institutions, or members of other churches. They are invited to give me a call (see number above) and join in the work with us. We want it to be a place where our Lord Jesus Christ’s love is seen and shared.”