On My Childhood Church's Anniversary
No church is perfect (if you think yours is, something is wrong). The Evangelical Covenant Church of Albert City, Iowa, is no exception. But I still fondly embrace my childhood there. It was my family's church (when I was born there were 4 generations of my dad's family in the church, and numerous cousins of various degrees). I was baptized there. My (third) cousin and I went through confirmation together. I can still remember the Bible verses and some of the catechism questions Pastor Wells had us memorize. In Jr. High we started singing in the choir. My teenage cousin and I amidst men in their 70s and 80s--and it was great!
As I was doing a web search for the church to find a picture, the majority of the pictures that came up were of people from the older generation who had passed away in the past decade--obituary pictures. That part is sad for me. When I do go home, there are many new faces (which is great), but many of the faces I grew up with are gone--Sunday School teachers, choir members, and others who impacted my life grown up aren't there any more.
That's the legacy of a good church, though...the older generations invest in the young generations who keep passing it on. When the church was first formed, much of the service was done in Swedish. That eventually changed, of course (even back then, though, immigrants didn't give up their language right away), but I still learned to sing songs in Swedish from the older generation. The church changes, but it also honors its heritage. Not for the sake of rigorously holding to tradition, but to honor the past and acknowledge where we have come from. No church exists solely in the present. We are connect to two millennia of saints, church teaching, and faith (as well as a few millennia before that connected to Judaic tradition).
So I congratulate the Evangelical Covenant Church of Albert City, Iowa, for its past 125 years. For a small town church, a number of pastors and ministers (myself included) have come out of that congregation. Many lives have been changed.
I pray that will continue for generations to come. It only happens with fervent faith, walking in the Spirit. May God continue to bless, guide, and lead you.