A Reflection on 273 Years

273 Years…
This Homecoming service June 3, 2018, at 10:30 a.m. we will be celebrating 273 years of ministry as the oldest Lutheran church in our area. Think of all the changes we have embraced in that time. We built the first church building in the area and shared it with folks of other denominations so they could worship. We moved from a log cabin to a brick church. We supported the Revolutionaries who fought against England. Yet we had Loyalists in our congregation at the same time. We began speaking English instead of German in our worship services to better speak to a younger generation. We started a school because education is the path best leading out of poverty. We ended that school because there was no longer need. We gave birth, not always in happy ways, to Peace and Sharon Lutheran Churches, and have had a hand in the development of Brick Church and St. Mark’s in Burlington. We moved the church across the street to build a bigger sanctuary to accommodate our growing numbers. When that sanctuary burned, we rebuilt it in less than 6 months so we could get back to worship quickly. We added an education wing and offices to have space for our youth to grow in the Lord and so the congregation could have an informal gathering space. We built a community building that has hosted many different ministries from square dancing to 4-H Club. We added a chime system so that we could ring out our love for Jesus in our community. We bought octaves of bells to enhance music and give people the opportunity to use their musical gifts to God’s glory. We have sent over 1000 prayer shawls to folks in need reminding them of God’s healing, comforting presence. We do angel trees which provide the gifts of Christmas to two or three families in need. We have supplied DVDs of the worship service to those who could not attend worship Sunday mornings. Now we’ve built an online presence through a website, social media, and streaming. We have a free food pantry that is the talk of the area. We have encountered much change in our 273-year history.
Reporters say we are living in an era where the rate of change is happening faster than experienced by any generation. While that may be true, the truth is that we are more used to change than we think. The key to accepting and growing with change is to answer the question “why?” When we know the “why” behind the change, we adapt better. As I look over the above partial list of changes, it would be easy to say we changed motivated by need. I see something more. We have embraced many changes because we are sincere in our desire to join Jesus in his mission. We embraced these changes because we want to show and share the kingdom of God with others and have them encounter for themselves God’s love.
Homecoming Sunday is June 3 at 10:30 a.m. with a potluck following. My prayer is that we thank God celebrating
273 years and ask God how we need to grow and change for the next 273.
God’s peace move you,
Pastor Bill

keep growing

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