Happy Birthday UCC!

April 17, 2016

Summary

Robin McGonigle
University Congregational Church
April 17, 2016

“Happy Birthday UCC!”
Psalm 137: 1-7; Isaiah 58:11; Proverbs 4:18

Today marks the actual 33rd birthday of the founding of our church. The church’s birthday doesn’t always fall on a Sunday, so I want to take some time to acknowledge this birthday and what this congregation does to make it special and unique.

Looking back – Celebration of accomplishments and milestones

Today we have come together for a historical event. This church –University Congregational Church – is celebrating its 33rd anniversary. What we are coming together to celebrate is not the anniversary of this building – because this building was built after the church started. The church is and has always been more than a building. We are celebrating a people, who with vision and hope established this community!

Happy are those who walk in the law of the LORD.
Happy are those who keep his decrees,
who seek him with their whole heart,
who also walk in his ways and have their eyes fixed on all God’s commandments.
Let us praise you with upright hearts,
and keep your righteous ordinances. Psalm 137:1-7 excerpts

I can’t celebrate this anniversary alone. Your participation is needed. If you have something to celebrate from the past, please stand where you are and a microphone will be brought to you. Say a few words about the past – things or people you want to celebrate – and when you have finished, the congregation will say “We give thanks!”
We have accomplished so much in 33 years!
a. Facilities, 3 parts of building
b. Membership – 600 members
c. Quality sermons, music
d. The “wedding church”
e. Trip to the Holy Land

Present – Celebration of current trends, relationships
The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. Isaiah 58:11

I can’t celebrate this anniversary alone. Your participation is needed. If you have something to celebrate from the present, please stand where you are and a microphone will be brought to you. Say a few words about the present – things or people you want to celebrate – and when you have finished, the congregation will say “We are blessed!”

a. Hygiene Pantry
b. Weddings still serve a major outreach in the community
c. Paul’s new role as Associate Minister
d. Average attendance up to 161 per week; membership almost to 300!
e. Education program at church and Larksfield

Future – claiming the promise of the future
The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day. Proverbs 4:18

One of the most important theological books of the last twenty-five years is Theology of Hope, by Jurgen Moltmann. “From first to last,” wrote Moltmann, “Christianity is … hope, forward looking and forward moving.”

Again, your participation is needed. If you have something to celebrate about the future, please stand where you are and a microphone will be brought to you. Say a few words about the future – things or people you want to celebrate – and when you have finished, the congregation will say “We have hope!”

a. Paul’s ordination
b. Trip to Greece & Turkey – Paul’s footsteps; in Sept/Oct.
c. Children & youth programs
d. Nicaragua mission trip
e. Stewardship of members increases to meet the needs so that long-term investments are not depleted

Please join me in a spirit of prayer and celebration for our church…

God of our past, we gather today to give thanks for the past.
We think back to those who first had a vision of a church in this place,
to those who gave of their labour, their treasure, their time to make it happen.
And as we remember the efforts of the founders and builders we offer words of thanks and praise.

God of our present, on this day we remember all that led this congregation to this day.
For 33 years of ministry to and with this community, for 33 years of growing together in love, for all that has made us what we are now, we give you thanks, we give you praise.

God of our future, today we celebrate our hopes and dreams for the future of our church. May we continue to grow in number, in spirit, in ministry to this community, in fellowship and in love. May we be a voice of welcoming, a witness to your love, and an example of what Jesus taught.

Amen.

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