The balloons were out. The cake was cut. The atmosphere was electric. Today it is official; Community Wesleyan Church in Kirkville is entering a season of celebration. Check out the KNN pages for pictures from today’s dinner (http://www.kirkvillewesleyan.org/anniversary-kick-off/pictures-from-kick-off/category/1.html).
This is a crucial time in our church’s history.
It is a moment when we remember the faithfulness of God in helping our congregation in the struggles of the past. It is a time when we confess together as we sang together in worship this morning, “Your grace is enough for me!” The song is based on the word of Scripture, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Co 12:9 NIV). We also sang of God’s faithfulness. This is also a point when we look forward to what God is going to do through our church in the future until Jesus returns.
This is a big season for me and my wife personally too.
Very few pastors are privileged to be part of three decadal celebrations at the church they serve as we have been. We came to Kirkville the year before the thirtieth anniversary. Another aspect that makes this celebration especially important to us is that when it is finished, my wife and I will likely be less than two years from retirement. So it has many of both summary and climactic elements about it for us too. There is so much to remember; so many wonderful people to remember. There is also so much ministry going on right now to celebrate too. And again, there is so much that remains undone; and that perspective keeps us looking ahead.
As a sign of the times, our 50th will use the web much more than past celebrations. Our history team under the leadership of Lori Hodge plans to record anecdotes to make the history personal. News, pictures and the 50 for 50 slide show are already showing up there.
My wife, JoAnne, is collecting testimonies of times throughout the 50 years when people have sensed God working in their lives in unusual ways. She hopes to eventually have a book of such true stories.
We will also be using some contemporary music as we look toward the future. Today we sang the beautiful old Gospel song by A. B. Simpson, Yesterday, Today, Forever in services. Then we introduced during the dinner program the contemporary song of the same title by Ryan Stevenson (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxSRka5IHJE). In service, the 50 for 50 slide show was accompanied by the new song Love Like Crazy.