Posted by: Pastor Bob Sugden | February 24, 2014

“Come to the River”

I want to give thanks, honor, and praise to our LORD for the wonderful way in which He blessed our church’s 35th Anniversary celebration, yesterday.  Throughout the morning, I felt His sustaining presence.  There was love, acceptance, and community expressed throughout the event.

Here’s a recap of the celebration:

Saturday evening:  A group of friends spent over 4 hours enjoying each other’s company as we cut out and hung all of the decorations for the potluck fellowship.  What was expected to be a dull chore became a time of relationship building and fun.  Thank you, Jesus!

Sunday, 11:00am:  The family gathered for a time of worship and praise.  We also had a little bit of business that had to be done.

(1) We welcomed four new members to our church family–Craig & Tanya Aris, Charlene Dubay, and Ruth Retynski.  (Unfortunately, Ruth was ill yesterday.  So, we will recognize her welcome next Sunday.)

(2) We took a trip down memory lane–a slide show of the church property.  During the slide show, we heard oral history of much of the things we see each week but never knew why they were a part of our property.  We also learned that throughout the course of this church’s ministry we have connected 775 souls with the message of the Gospel.  What a legacy!

(3) We received greetings from former pastors and their spouses.  We heard from: Maribeth Nelson (widow of the founding pastor Don Nelson); Rev. Larry & Marilyn Hawn; and Louise Runyan (widow of Rev. Jim Runyan).

(4) We elected 5 new board members–Joyce Purnam, Elsie Stormont, Renee’ Sugden, Renae Temperle, and Marlene Wright.  (These ladies will serve from March 2014 – February 2017.)

(5) We elected two delegates to represent our church at the upcoming district assembly–Joyce Putnam and Renee’ Sugden.

(6) We reviewed of our church’s financial statement.  All our bills are paid in full and/or current.  And, we have $800 in the bank.  We ended the year “in the black”!

(7) We heard a touching testimony from Marlene Wright about God’s provision of life-giving water.

(8) We presented a Distinguished Service Award to a very special lady–Beverly Wright.  Thank you, Beverly, for nearly 4 decades of service to our LORD.

(9) Our pastor cast a powerful message of the vision for our church in the coming years.  We will see our congregation grow to be 150 vital, active members.  May we be faithful to God’s call.

(10) We celebrated the goodness of our LORD by singing his praises in a spirited half hour of worship.

(11) We then joined as a family together around the table to fellowship and love on each other.

We literally spent 2-1/2 hours in the sanctuary.  It didn’t seem like it, though.  One of our church members wrote on her Facebook page, “One of two churches I’ve attended, that a 2.5 hr service felt like minutes and still hungry for more.  Such an honor to have been and still are a part of the heart of this church.”  

Another cool aspect of the service was it was inter-generational.  We had people present who ranged in age from under a year to over 70 years.  The young folks heard from the “old” folks how important it is to be faithful to the call of God on your life.  Through thick and thin, in weariness and vitality, one must be faithful to see the end result of God’s calling.  And, as a congregation of Jesus followers, we’re not finished.  Some of us may be reaching the end of our race.  But, the baton will be passed and the Kingdom of God will be advanced in the interior of Alaska.  The message of heart holiness will be broadcast.  And, Jesus Christ will continue to be hailed as King!  Glory to God!!  Hallelujah!!!

I went to bed last night with a deep peace in my heart and praises on my lips that He is well-pleased with our little church.

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