The archives, I may have told you, are gorgeous. Church records were for many years hand- written in perfect calligraphy into a book with a marbled brown cover. The long, narrow book holds meeting minutes, attendance lists, expense records, and community covenants. But there’s more: Old bulletins tell of a sermon series “introducing His Royal Majesty, the Devil” and warning listeners of his traps. There’s a menu from a 1930s Friendship Class banquet, handwritten on a tiny program and decorated with even tinier stickers; a slick, black program from the Requiem the FBC choir sang with friends from the First Presbyterian Church choir; a picture of the days when men all wore suits to church, and women all wore hats.
And these snippets and records – these are also stories.
We’ll spend the year reading them, hearing them, telling them. In some ways, it’s easy for us to think of the history of our church as a story God’s been telling in McMinnville for almost 150 years.
So the stretch this year will be to think of our present as story also. Our own lives, our own faith journeys, our own week-in-and- week-out worship experience and committee work and volunteer service and dinner group conver- sation – those are all, also, the story of this church, right now. They are stories of formation and growth, forgiveness and reconcili- ation, intimacy and community, challenge and call. They are stories of good news, and we are going to learn to tell them.
I invite you to dive in to our anniversary year – the Storytelling Starter Workshops, the Book Groups, the Concert Series, the remembering and the imagining – and to listen to the lives all around you, and, above all, to your own life. It is the all story of God, here and now, and yearning to be told.