When I first came here as your pastor, I said that the faith of this church needed to be shared and the building needed to be used. It is heartwarming to know that for 150 years, this congregation's faith certainly has been shared, and the building has been used for much more than a gathering place of worship. Over the years, the entire circle of life has been celebrated on our grounds. The church has a rich history of outreach, among others with a food pantry and, until very recently, a soup kitchen for the needy. As the demographics of the greater Lakewood area have changed, our membership has shrunk in size. But this church still reaches out with a very active Session and Board of Deacons, a strong prayer group, and events like Souper Bowl Sunday. We have opened the doors of our sanctuary to Unity Deliverance Church so its members can hold their church services in "a house of God."
If we were to look around our own or our parents' attics, what would we find? Is your tricycle there or your first doll, maybe your report card from elementary school, and old pictures of long forgotten events and times? You would cherish the memories more than you would miss these things. The same holds true for the memories of this church. I'm sure you will have fond memories, happy memories, and yes, I'm sure, some sad memories. But this church has impacted a great number of people, and the memories are countless. That is a gift all by itself!
Many of you have shared memories of Sunday school and of youth events. The church had several bowling teams over the years, and various women's groups. There were adult choirs, youth choirs and bell choirs, and we hosted many wonderful musicians over the years. Some of you are members because your parents were members, and their parents before them. Many of you were baptized here, confirmed here, married here, and had your own children grow up here. What a legacy for this church to have, what an outstanding statement of faith!
God has blessed this church and its congregation for 150 years. In return, our congregation continues to be faithful and prayerful. The members are committed servants of God, this community, and of each other. We have so much to be proud of and so much to be thankful for. It is indeed an honor for me to be your pastor, and an absolute joy to celebrate this milestone with all of you. God bless!