Sixty years in just over an hour! What a journey! Sunday we celebrated our church’s sixtieth anniversary. We sang the hymns and worship songs of each decade (My, how we have changed- from piano and organ and a choir in robes to a praise band with electric guitars and drums and singers in jeans!) Six who became members in the first decade were honored with plaques (my mother was one of them). Stories were retold. We were reminded of sacrifices given- an early member mortgaged his own home to secure the purchase of land and materials for our first building. Serving as foreman of the construction, he died in a tragic accident, struck by beams that fell on him. As pictures of our past flashed on the screen, we were reminded other beloved members now in heaven. We smiled to see little ones in Sunday School classes who are today’s teens, young adults off to college, and young parents with little ones of their own. We smiled at the changing fashions and hairstyles. We smiled to remember happy times shared together. We remembered former pastors who provided bold leadership at critical times. We laughed over the famous letter we once received from the NFL (it wasn’t funny at the time). We rejoiced over the outreach to our community- involvement in starting over 30 other churches, mission trips and projects to all six inhabited continents, members who have been transferred to nearly all 50 US states and have become active members serving in their new churches and communities, and the project being completed this summer- a disc golf course, basketball and volleyball courts, soccer field and hiking trails through the woods- all open to our community. After worship, we had a fifties-inspired celebration complete with hamburgers and hot dogs wrapped in red-checkered paper, a candy “store” stocked with nostalgic penny candies, hula hoop contests, and a soda shoppe that served root beer floats to one and all! What a wonderful day!
In a postscript- I went to my mom’s afterwards. As I pulled into the driveway, she was walking back across the street from a neighbor’s house . She had gone over to show them her plaque. It meant so much to her! I am thankful to be a part of a church that shows the “seniors” how much they have given us and honors them for their faithful service.