Monday, January 12, 2009

Help! Advice Wanted!

The congregation I pastor has a significant (really significant) anniversary next year. I really don't care about anniversaries. For churches. They look to the past, not to the present or the future. So, a session member came in and wanted to talk to me about the celebration. Her idea is for special things to occur all during the year. There is already someone ready to chair the celebration committee. I told her that I don't really like anniversary celebrations, but if that's what the session and the congregation want to do, then it's fine with me. She wants the session to talk about this at our retreat. We are having quarterly business meetings and won't have a business meeting until March, which she thinks is too late.

So, either tell me I'm off the wall about anniversaries and I should get on the bandwagon and celebrate with them (I will celebrate with them) or help me figure out how to get them to focus on mission and not themselves. Or some middle way.

7 comments:

Quotidian Grace said...

When I was the DCE and the church had its 25th anniversary, we celebrated by encouraging the congregation to participate in the Bible in 90 Days program. We had great participation and the pastor departed from the lectionary during the 90 day period and used a text from each week's reading as the basis for his sermon.

It was a great way to raise Biblical literacy in the congregation, and we formed more adult study groups afterwards.

Gannet Girl said...

We did a LOT of celebrating the 100th anniversary of the church-you-know a few years ago. I think it was meaningful for people to understand some of our history and regroup: it was inspiring to realize that the huge decline in membership at the end of the 60s was not just because the 50s were over, but because so many people left in response to the leadership role the church took in neighborhood desegregation and that that impetus toward social justice remains a vital part of our congregational life.

Songbird said...

Is it possible that commemorating the anniversary could also be a means to finally getting them to look toward the future, a 'both/and' sort of thing?

Jennifer said...

I've served churches that celebrated 175 years (gasp!) and 50 years of ministry and mission.
In boht cases, we did both/and celebrations, looking forward and looking back.

We had a time and talents auction (a relic done once and repeated) and the proceeds benefitted a new church development in our presbytery-- becasue we were an NCD 50 years ago.

I've got a million other ideas, if you need 'em. Feel free to email me.
Blessings!

Joan Calvin said...

Thanks to you all!

Mavis said...

Bit of late 'advice' but I echo the both and sentiment. A 'winter series' with maybe some good theological input and mulled wine (or mulled apple juice - usually acceptable to Presbyterians!) on 4 Sunday afternoons (of course this could be a musical event as an alternative - but thinking of ways to engage missionally) - a saints and angels party - where people dress as a person who inspired them in their faith and talk about why (if dressing up is toooo crazy then bring something to remind of that person). My parents were very faithful attenders at anniversaries and I think they do fill an important role for some people. The challenge is to focus forward.

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