A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lancaster First UMC Bicentennial Year Reflections

Dear Friends,

Throughout our bicentennial year, I’m reminded of something that a former bishop said about church anniversaries. He said that even though it’s our birthday, we are the gift! He’s right. Whenever we gather for worship or celebrate milestone events like a bicentennial, we are reminded of our sacred calling to offer the gift of God’s love to the people around us.

When layperson Ed Teal left Baltimore, Maryland, to start a home in this area of Ohio, he brought the gift of his faith and started a Methodist class meeting. When Circuit Rider preachers Peter Cartwright and James B. Finley rode through this area, they brought their gift of evangelism. When ten lay people made the decision to become an official Methodist church in 1812, they offered their gifts of commitment, organization and leadership.

During our bicentennial year, we have been celebrating the many gifts of those who have gone before us. Their examples inspire us to continue to offer the gift of God’s love in our community and world.

Our bicentennial has been a wonderful year-long birthday party! I am so thankful for our bicentennial committee and all of their planning in making this a special year of celebration. We dedicated our newly refurbished church bell, hosted a Sunday morning Founders’ Day, experienced a 19th century Methodist tent revival, hosted an Art Walk exhibit featuring our beautiful stained glass windows, invited the community to an old fashioned ice cream social, commissioned a bicentennial anthem, and this Sunday, we will honor over 230 people who have been members of the church for fifty or more years.

So, happy birthday, First UMC! It’s been a milestone year! Continue to celebrate! Be thankful for our rich history! Rejoice!

And always remember: it may be our birthday, but we are the gift.

In Joy & Gratitude,

Rev. Robert V. McDowell, Senior Pastor
[Join us for worship on October 21 at the church for our Homecoming Sunday & a 12:15 pm covered-dish meal & brief program at our beautiful Crossroads facility, 2095 W. Fair Ave.]

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