When I was a young pastor, and did not know how much I did not know at that time, I too often failed to appreciate the importance of signal anniversaries in the lives of church members. While there would usually be major league flower arrangements on the altar table commemorating those important times in a couple’s life, I was oblivious to the most significant marker that particular season was for the two persons being recognized. It was only when I noticed how on most of those Sundays the couple would be joined by other family members, usually children and grandchildren, who had often traveled long distances to be with their loved ones on this most high occasion. It was only then that I began to see how a celebration of this sort was a truly big deal!
As you know by now, we have such a momentous moment drawing near for our church this next month. On September 29, Mountain Brook Baptist Church will celebrate our 75th Anniversary! Throughout the year we have been gearing up for this Sunday with the aid of special worship guide inserts that have captured stories of the rich legacy in worship and service our church possesses. Thanks to Catherine Allen and Amy Hirsch, and to many of you who have contributed various remembrances, we have been able to enjoy a steady drumbeat of reminders as to how God’s favor has been with us in transforming ways and our response to that divine favor as we have endeavored to spread the Gospel in word and deed in our community and beyond.
You have also had the chance to revisit the Bible’s story through the commemorative book by Dr. Joe O. Lewis, our former Teacher in Residence, Sacred Space and Sacred Story, which explains in detail the symbolism behind each of the beautiful stained glass windows in both our Sanctuary and Chapel. Joe’s explanations remind us of the firm foundation upon which our church’s worship and service are based, and have provided the perfect theme around which to organize our Anniversary.
This time has allowed us to look back and reflect upon God’s grace and generosity to us over the course of our 75 years of existence, and it has also prepared us to take our place in penning the next chapter of our exemplary church’s history. I know I have more confidence in our church’s ability to manage the challenging seasons that will surely come upon us in the days ahead because of how I have heard the stories of how we managed similar challenges in days past. I trust you feel the same way, as you have picked up lessons along the way that will help you to become more faithful in your future participation in the work God still has for us to do.
Now, we conclude what has been a noteworthy year with the Anniversary Sunday on September 29. We will have a church wide brunch beginning at 8:45 AM and then a combined worship service at 10:30 AM.
Our committee, chaired by Richard Adams, and supported by Catherine Allen, Doral Atkins, Bob Baker, Jack Brown, Jr., Meredith Cale, Richard Compton, Geoff Johnson, Jesalyn McCurry, Susan Ray, Amy Scofield, Mary Scott, Katy Sexton, and June Whitlow, has done a terrific job of structuring a yearlong observance of our rich heritage, which will conclude in a most inspiring Sunday celebration that points us toward the hopeful future that lies ahead. As you see these persons, please express your deep appreciation to them. They have shouldered a heavy load and have never complained a single time.
Your presence will be important for the 29th. After all, you, too, are a part of our past, and, more importantly, you are also a part of that good future God has for us to know.