The Past is Present
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses... let us run with perserverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of our faith.
On All-Saints Sunday and Heritage Sunday, we celebrate our church’s history and the saints, past and present, whose vision and energy give shape to the church’s on-going life and ministry in the world. In response to several requests, I reprint here some remarks written by our church historian, Brad Harding, on the occasion of the presentation of our sanctuary lectern, June 12, 2016.
This new lectern is a gift, to this church, to this congregation and to the covenant we all share. It is the result of both the foresight and skilled craftsmanship of Craig Stirrat, a seasoned and faithful member of this church. Fifteen years ago when the sanctuary was being emptied to allow for the new design and renovation of the chancel, Craig took charge of the old pulpit and quietly kept it and much of the surrounding wood paneling for possible re-purposing. By the time we resumed worship after the successful renovation in 2002, Craig had designed and, using the original wood and carving details from the former pulpit, crafted a new pulpit, a new communion table, and the wooden part of the hanging cross. While being thoughtful of all the design elements in this new chancel, Craig kept faith with the architectural style that had been part of the earlier chancel. Months later, and still not finished, Craig constructed a new baptismal font, and now, in 2016, he has this new lectern. It seems that Craig himself is a gift who keeps on giving.
A gift that is brand new is always exciting by how it sparks the imagination and opens new possibilities, but when it reflects back on things of the past, it brings a deeper and richer dimension of meaning. In worship, our history helps nurture our future. In 1923, the lectern was given to the congregation to honor its tenth pastor. This new replacement lectern comes to us in the same way; for us to hear the stories from Scripture, to share the details and meaning of our covenant and to honor the ministry of our eighteenth senior pastor, the Rev. Dr. Sarah Sarchet Butter.
-Brad Harding. Village Church Historian
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for all of your saints, past and present, who help to keep your church alive. Make us faithful with our own gifts and talents, that we can honor you as the body of Christ in our time and place. Amen