On Sunday, Sept. 29, we will celebrate Anniversary Sunday. Old First was founded in 1727. That makes us 286 years old. Ok, so maybe it’s not surprising that the building is showing a bit of wear and tear (even as the potential of a capital campaign promised to repair that).
We mark Anniversary Sunday each year at the end of September. This year will be special, as we will also be welcoming Geneva Butz back, officially, as Old First’s Pastor Emerita. The resolution we voted unanimously at the June Congregational Meeting said, in part:
“The Pastor Emerita is an honorary title respecting a retired pastor’s service and faithfulness. …The Old First congregation is naming her its Pastor Emerita. Although that title is honorific, we are asking Geneva as Pastor Emerita, to:
~ be present as she wishes in the life and worship of Old First, although she is now and will continue to be a member of Tabernacle United Church;
~ preach two to three times a year;
~ make pastoral visits as agreed upon between Michael and Geneva;
~ take on special projects as agreed upon between Michael and Geneva.
…We are not getting an additional pastor on staff. Instead, we are making room for her to minister among us as she, the pastor, the congregation and the Holy Spirit see fitting.”
So on Anniversary Sunday, we will ritually initiate this new way of relating to one another. Mostly, that means we will say a prayer together, thanking God for the ways that Geneva has served the Old First community and through us the wider world. And then, continuing to pray, ask god that her time with us in this new relationship will be a mutual blessing.
Oh, and she’s the preacher too. Her sermon title is “Real Estate.”
Afterwards, we will have a potluck luncheon, to continue to celebrate, and so we have some time to spend talking and catching up with each other. (It’s been our potluck experience that people bringing what they wish leads us to a varied and plentiful table, so no need to either look for what we need or inform us what you are bringing.)
Please plan to join us. And take a minute and think who you might invite to come on this special day. Someone you haven’t seen for a while at church. Someone you’ve been looking for a reason to invite…
It will be a day of joy and hopefulness…