Monday, June 2, 2008

150 Year Anniversary

Overarching the chancel are the words, "Let God Be Magnified."
In this place I stood in that traditional Norwegian pulpit and preached the Gospel. At this altar I officiated at Holy Communion, blessed the children and lovingly served the folks who knelt at this railing. I made an unusual number of hospital calls in Eau Claire, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Menomonie. One sweet woman remarked that I ought to have a helicopter! Eighteen years later one man remembered my funeral sermon for his friend. Young people and children witnessed that a woman could be a pastor. For the few short months in 1990 we did ministry together, and I was the interim pastor. This was my fifth of thirteen interims.
Yesterday at the anniversary Sunday morning worship, Pastor Steve Carlson recognized former pastors, lay officers and leaders, Sunday school teachers, a descendant of the founding pastor, and many others in attendance. They invited even the interim pastors back.
Pastor Carlson wrote an amazing compilation of all the past congregational history stories, which was printed and offered free .. with the request of a donation.
The Sunday school children sang an excellent arrangement of "This Little Light of Mine". The combined choir of Little Elk Creek and its sister congregation and also a male quartet sang.
Bishop Duane Pederson brought greetings and assisted with communion.
Pastor Carlson's sermon was a gracious recounting of the history, and a call to continue the ministry.
The organ has been refurbished. The retired organist, whom I had worked with, assisted on this special day.
Catered lunch was served and the crowd flowed out onto the yard... with celebrating people everywhere. At the left side of the picture you can see the keg of root beer, popular with kids of all ages. Delicious home-made yummy bars for dessert.. and in the center of the table... the "white food" for which Scandinavians in the midwest are so famous. When I was there in 1990, I brought Holy Communion at home to the folks who couldn't climb the many stairs to the sanctuary. The artfully designed addition in the forground, making the entire church handicap-accessible, was built and paid for recently. The people in this rural area of Wisconsin are not wealthy, but they take seriously the call, "Let God Be Magnified." They are beneficiaries of those settlers a hundred and fifty years ago who humbly "prayed a church into being."

The benediction I usually used in my interim ministry: "May God bless you. May the peace of God which passes understanding keep your heart and mind in Jesus, the Risen Christ. Amen.


rocketpants said...

Thanks for sharing your church with us. That is really great that you got to preach for awhile there too!

Renee said...

Thank you for sharing that! Amazing photos!

Backofpack said...

It looks lovely and serene. I especially like the dessert table...that alone would draw me in!

DawnB said...

Beutiful, thank you so much for sharing. Thank you for the Blessings. Christ have risen indeed!! Amen.

Dori said...

I love those little churches in the Midwest. How nice that you were able to attend the 150 year celebration.

jeanne said...

what a terrific day, and a lovely legacy!

Sunshine said...

Thank you, each one of you, for your visit and comment.
Precious people, each of you!

peter said...

Nice. Unfortunately my church (Episcopalan) in my home town has become bitterly divided over gender and sexual preference issues with some having usurped the building and excluded the rest of us, who have to worship in the Presbyterian Church nearby while the courts sort it all out slowly.

Sunshine said...

Peter: Not too difficult to guess who captured your church building!
Parts of the congregation in my post were fighting about predestination 150 years ago.
I am weary of fights that result in winners and losers.
Much fighting seems pretty removed from love.

Rich said...

Thanks for serving the community!