I’ve devoted quite a bit of time going through photos, and old, long-forgotten files, that were basically thrown into a big box and stored for decades at our church. One day, our church’s receptionist ran across the box and asked if I would go through it and “organize” its contents. I guess she thought with my being “retired” I needed a project to do, and because my husband and I have thirty-three years of history with our church, I was the most likely candidate for the job.
It took me months to sort through the papers, toss duplicates, create and date file folders and try to make sense of the what, when, and where, of church life to file all the papers properly. Then there was the hundreds of pictures! Over thirty-five years of old photos, never labelled, just saved for someone to eventually sort through.
Church gatherings, potlucks, special events, building projects, children and youth activities, VBS weeks, baptisms, weddings, funerals, Sunday School gatherings, all documented on film but with no dates or names on the majority of the pictures. When I came across pictures of people I recognized, I immediately jotted their names on the back…if I could remember their names! That became the biggest task for me. Sorting through all the pictures, trying to figure out who was in the picture and when the picture was taken. I scanned in most of the pictures on my computer to create digital files and then began the daunting task of matching pictures with all the past events our church family had participated in for over thirty-five years.
I came across a brief write-up about the early years written by some charter members who had the presence of mind to keep track of the early history of the church. I was overwhelmed with thankfulness to discover it, because I wasn’t a part of the church body during those first years. Taking up where they left off, I added to that early history by collecting more stories, pictures, and reminiscences from staff and members, past and present, to finally compile it all into “book” form.
It has been a labour of love.
God never purposed that any of His children would go through life alone. He created “family” to support, encourage, and love each other. He gifted me with my husband, children, grandchildren and extended family. He also placed me amongst a family of believers who “Love like Jesus, Live like Jesus, to Change the World”.
My church family is exactly that…a family! I can’t imagine life without them! I share a memorable history with them. I have unpacked much of that history over these many months, and I appreciate my brothers and sisters in Christ so much more as a result. It doesn’t matter that some of them have moved away, we still have connection. A few dear ones have gone Home to be with Jesus. I miss them, but we will reunite one day. I have laughed and cried with many of my church family. We have shared struggles, victories, and common experiences. We have prayed, worshipped and fellowshipped together. Evident in our church’s history is the common goal of bringing Glory to God in all of our endeavours.
Looking back to move forward is how we should approach the future. I am looking forward to how God will shape our church for His Perfect Purpose in the years ahead.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42-47