By Velma Dunard,
Anniversary Committee Chair
It was a very exciting year at Zion United Church of Christ as members took a journey into the 21st century.
They knew it was important to critically interpret the changing world in which we live, and commit to practicing the same kind of ministry that Jesus embodied.
The church chose a theme, “Looking Back With Thanksgiving, Looking Forward With Hope…125 Years in Christ’s Service.” This sign hangs above the front entrance.
Two new banners were designed and donated by Bob and Velma Dunard to honor and celebrate the life of their daughter, Darla Flynn. The images on these banners offer a vision of faith in God and the covenant to be the Body of Christ, for “We are born of water and spirit” and “In Christ we are a new creation!”
Zion members and friends know the importance of a good meal. They served their 27th Annual Ham N Bean Dinner in February and the 36th Annual sausage dinner in March. Both of these meals’ proceeds support the mission and ministry of Zion UCC. With food on the minds, the idea of a new addition to the cookbook became of interest to many. It resulted in 125 new recipes to share. This addition is of interest in many ways and one is the fact that it has recipes from many previous pastors that served Zion Church.
Zion has been known for its quilt making since the early 1900’s. With this in mind the quitters thought they should make a banner. You know the thought comes to mind and the next thing you know a unique banner is created! It is hanging above the altar today, a statement of faith and celebration.
Members looked for a way to renew and share some memories of their forbearers. To do this members were asked to share a personal “historical memory moment” each month sharing their rich heritage and roots of Zion church and their sister churches. Each individual shared their memories of the church and shared a part of their faith with the congregation.
The Lincoln County Fair Parade was the next stop. With temperatures reaching 100 degrees, this didn’t keep church members from participating. They wore their Zion UCC shirts that depicted the 1887 steeple of the first church on Mound Street and the 1926 steeple of this church on Main Street. Many sat on the church lawn and enjoyed the parade. Others participated in the parade by handing out 900 bottles of water to many hot and thirsty parade watchers, a demonstration of commitment to serve their community in Christ’s love.
The next stop was to Cuivre River State Park to worship in God’s creation. What a beautiful Sunday morning it was! Members were surrounded by the sights and sounds of God’s magnificent creation. They thanked God that some things change, and that some things don’t change. Members spent the morning thinking outside the box, incorporating rocks in prayers, an ark of the covenant in scripture readings, and bells in worship. The heavens broke open and a much-needed rain poured forth right after the last car was loaded.
On Sept. 16, members of Zion United church of Christ traveled to Anderson Hill Chapel, just south of Moscow Mills to worship where their forebearers once worshipped. The service was led by Rev. Laura Mignerone, Zion UCC’s pastor, Rev. Michael Kasevich, St. Paul UCC’s pastor, and Eugene Rahmeier, Friedens UCC’s pastor.
Before there was a Zion UCC church, members grew out of the congregation who worshipped at Anderson Hill. Later that church became Friedens UCC, with whom current Zion members shared a pastor for many, many years. Members continued to look back with thanksgiving and remembered close ties to sister churches as they celebrated their rich heritage.
This indeed was a great opportunity to honor the Past … Celebrate the Present and Look Forward to the Future. While members were there they presented the idea of a 125th Anniversary time capsule with the capsule being sealed on their Anniversary Celebration Sunday. It will be opened 25 years later on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, 2037. Members can’t wait to see what exciting and faithful ministries Zion will be participating in on the 150th Anniversary!
Members continued the tradition of making apple butter that started more than 90 years ago. They made 661 quarts this year. Like the dinners, the proceeds from Apple Butter sales support the mission and ministry of Zion UCC.
As a part of the 125th anniversary celebration members had a “Hat Day” on Oct. 28. This was done in remembrance of the church’s earlier years when women wore hats every Sunday to church. Members also celebrated the beginnings of their Protestant heritage as Martin Luther began to “reform” the church with his 95 Theses in 1517 on Reformation Sunday.
Members invited all confirmands along with previous pastors and, of course, congregation, friends and community to join on Nov. 18, as the members celebrated the 125th Anniversary of Zion Church.
Members were a host for the Troy Garden Club House Tour in December. The quilters displayed their handiwork. The Fellowship Hall was decorated in a Winter Wonderland theme.
Members and committee will finalize their celebration by writing a historical book that is being compiled as church members made this journey. This will be available in the spring of 2013.
Zion’s history is important and this milestone allowed members to reflect on that. It also provided the opportunity to consider the future because members have faith that our Still Speaking God will sustain their mission and ministry for many more anniversaries to come!
Members and guests attending the anniversary service held in November at the Zion United Church of Christ.