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Part 3 - The Real Joy

Part 3 - The Real Joy by Jon H. Larimore

Do you remember your Sunday School teachers? I do. Among many recent teachers here have been Jack Melnick, Ed Betts, Michael Peters, Dennis Edelbrock, Mary Dodson, Amy Barr, and John Minno. CUMC Member Hildegarde O'Neill has seen a lot of our history. She's been a member of this church for 82 years! You and I are here today surrounded by God's work. Within the walls of this 12th Century Gothic sanctuary lives the love of those who erected them, and those who carefully protect them to this day. The People of God. But earlier I mentioned that it doesn't really matter if we fail to mention each and every one of those who've made this living church possible. Why is that? Well, first of all, from its humble beginnings with twenty members in 1906 - through the 1940's and 50's when this church boasted a membership of more than 2000, with an average Sunday morning attendance of 753, when we had six choirs, and the adult choir alone had 68 members - up until our presence here today, we can easily estimate that many tens of thousands of people looking to find God have passed through our doors. Not only that, but Phyllis Johnson's wonderful history of this church lists more than 733 individual names of those who've been instrumental in our history through 1996, with even more since then. And of course, whether or not you and I recognize the names of those who have earned their gold stars, God knows every one of them. We can certainly thank those who are here with us. But what about those who've moved on? Well listen up now—here's the real joy. If you harbor within your heart, as I do, an unshakable belief in God's promise of Heaven, someday you and I will actually meet those wonderful folks who've gone on before us—up close, soul-to-soul—as we personally thank each and every one for his or her good works! Those gold star winners will all be there, waiting for you and me to shake a hand and put a loving arm around Martha Overal, John Wigent, Bex McBride, Mabel Greeson, Marvin Helter, Lucille Holtzman, Bill Miller, Allan Ensign, Mary Tarpley, and all the rest of God's movers and shakers we've not even mentioned here! Wow! How about that? What an amazing concept! May we all, together, seize this blessed opportunity to help the next one hundred years of this living, breathing church—your church and mine—bring each soul it touches closer to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Oh Lord . . . . . . For the PEOPLE of God . . . (say it with me now) . . . THANKS BE TO GOD! 


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