Yesterday, my church celebrated its 100th anniversary.
A hundred years ago, in 1911, Ronald Reagan and Roy Rogers were born, Madame Curie won the Nobel prize for chemistry, the first photograph was taken from an airplane (in San Diego), Titanic launched, Ray Harroun won the first Indy 500, Crisco shortening was introduced, and an audience threw vegetables at actors for the first time in recorded US history.
And here’s an interesting webpage – a woman, springing from entries in her grandmother’s journal, talks about what was going on 100 years ago today.
Well back to our church centennial service, I was anticipating a large dose of nostalgia, but instead was inspired by a resounding message of purpose for right now, and the future.
We aren’t the oldest congregation in San Diego – that distinction goes to the Roman Catholic Mission San Diego de Alcala, founded in 1769. Many local protestant congregations predate ours also, like the First Presbyterian Church downtown, founded in 1869.
And we certainly aren’t the biggest church. I jokingly tell people its the kind of church you might find as a prize in a cereal box. To me, sometimes it feels like a little country church in some small farming community. As our pastor said at the celebration, “This church never became big, but the hearts of its people have grown large.”
But in our little community niche of North Park, we currently are the singular century church. In the book, North Park: A San Diego Urban Village, we are listed first in the chapter on Pioneer Schools & Churches.
From humble beginnings in a tent on a dirt lot (you can get away with that sort of thing in San Diego’s climate), this congregation has trusted God and banded together to withstand the pressures of depressions, recessions, World Wars and other conflicts, and many other turmoils without and within – only by the grace and faithfulness of God.
We have stood as a beacon of hope in our community, consistently announcing for well over 5,000 Sundays, and other days in between, that
Jesus the Christ is coming again,
and through Him, it is possible to live life at a higher level!
History and context are important; they should be studied, understood and remembered. And yet, what a thrill for the Thinking Christian Woman to contemplate that God trusts her to represent Him in her moment in history. With Esther, we can confidently and faithfully ponder how God is using us in our spheres of influence, “for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14)
God has promised in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
Hallelujah! Press on!
© 2011 Melody K. Anderson
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