My local congregation celebrated its 75th anniversary this past weekend. It was a very good time.
The celebrations started with a special service on Friday night. Given the number of visitors expected, church members were asked to park at the Lutheran church down the road and various members shuttled them back to our church. The Lutheran church was very gracious and let us use their parking lot on Friday night because there was no way everyone could park at our church.
The service started with a video presentation of the history of the church. The congregational singing was some of the old-time hymns instead of the more contemporary worship songs we usually sing. It felt so good to sing those old songs again! The choir sang a song, “God Is,” which they’ve sung for a number of years which is always well-received.
The speaker that night was from Alexandria, LA and a good friend of our congregation. During his sermon he mentioned that he preached a Youth Week in 1972. He was in love and called his girl and told her he loved her. He asked if she loved him. Her reply was she didn’t know because she couldn’t see him. Monday was the off night (meaning no church service) so he flew to the city where she was, proposed, and returned on Tuesday night an engaged man. They’ve just celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary and he says that revival he preached is forever tied to the memory of his wedding anniversary. The rest of his sermon was stirring and encouraged the congregation to continue their Christian walk.
Saturday afternoon there was an open house at the church. It was a come and go event. There were a number of collages of photos taken through the years hung in the hallway leading to the fellowship hall. One of the Sunday School rooms was set up as a Historical Center with scrapbooks and other displays in it. In the Fellowship Hall the women in charge of refreshments had outdone themselves. There was a curved table offering bite sizes of various recipes that some of the church women are known by as well as some famous St. Louis treats like Ted Drewes frozen custard, toasted ravioli, Dad’s cookies, Gus’s pretzels, etc. There was an outstanding ice sculpture as part of the decorations. Lots of folding chairs were arranged in the room in groups so it was easy to visit with others. I got to chat with an out-of-town friend (the woman who had the heart attack in Springfield) and even collected a hug from her husband.
Sunday morning we did not have Sunday School. We had a worship service that included a song by a man who is a vital part of our music ministry. The guest speaker was the son of one of the former pastors. He started off very slow … slow talking … remembering things through the years. But when he finally got down to the meat of his sermon, it was excellent.
Sunday evening’s service was another very good one. Included in it was a focus on the future. Various speakers from the congregation either looked back at the history or looked forward to the future. The Children’s Choir sang in this service as well as the adult choir. But the run-away favorite was the offertory. For years our church has had an orchestra made up of brass instruments. I don’t know how they knew to bring their horns but a lot of former members who now live elsewhere came with their horns. The group — about 20 I think — played two songs for the offertory. The congregation was ready to hear more from them but since they hadn’t had a lot of time to practice, we had to be content to hear once again two songs which were frequently played back when all those former members were in our congregation. The current pastor plays a saxophone and remarked when they finished playing, “That was fun!”
The morning speaker again spoke. His sermon was much shorter this time (he didn’t even call it a sermon but that was what it was). Then the evening concluded with the baptism of a young boy.
It was a very good weekend. I think I can safely say a good time was had by all.