Sherwood Parish was built in 1830, when Frances Thwaits Deye Taylor offered the rector, vestry and congregation a gift of five acres of land overlooking Limestone Valley and the town of Cockeysville. Taylor asked that a chapel be built there and requested that it be called “Sherwood” after her own estate in Cockeysville, and taken from Sherwood Forest in England. The parish applied for admission to the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland in 1836.
Just as the entire Episcopal Diocese of Maryland struggled with the institution of slavery during the 1860s, according to the church’s website, “The period of the Civil War was especially difficult for Sherwood. Like many families in Maryland, Sherwood families were often divided in their loyalties; some believed in the Southern cause while others felt that splitting the union would cause significant harm to the country and to the parish.” The rector during these years, the Rev. John F. Hoff, split his duties between Sherwood and the newly formed Trinity Church in Towson. Hoff, a practical and moderate man, worked diligently to create harmony and expand both congregations.
The painful legacy of slavery brought about societal changes and dislocations that have confronted every parish in the Diocese of Maryland. In recent times, Sherwood has faced these social issues with compassion. In 1994 Sherwood recruited the Rev. Stephen Paul from the coal country of southeastern West Virginia where he had been serving three congregations in Mercer and McDowell counties. The parish felt that Paul’s energy in ministering to the impoverished people of West Virginia could be invigorating to Sherwood and stimulate the congregation to do things for those less fortunate. Paul served the parish in this mission until his untimely death in 2000.
Today, Sherwood honors the memories of Hoff, Paul, and all those who have contributed to the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation and the quest for racial harmony through the church’s ongoing outreach ministry to the entire community.
Learn more: www.sherwood.ang-md.org
5 Sherwood Road
Cockeysville, Maryland 21030