Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Brethren in greater Philadelphia area celebrate a rich heritage.

It was beautiful. The room was set with round tables covered with white cloth and decorated with simple but elegant centerpieces of wheat--all in a wide open space that felt like the great outdoors. All the chairs were in place around the tables, waiting for the disciples of Jesus to come together from the Greater Philadelphia-Delaware Valley congregations of the Church of the Brethren’s Atlantic Northeast District, to celebrate our heritage and look beyond the horizon of today.

Celebration it was! On Aug. 24, 156 people from the oldest congregation in the area to the newest Hispanic congregation came to celebrate the 300th Anniversary of the Church of the Brethren. The theme was, "From a Rich Heritage Moving Forward." The crowd was colorful--Korean, Black, White, Hispanic, all ages including children and youth, as well as those who were using walking assists or a wheel chair.

Hymns and praise songs were sung, the Holy Scriptures were read, stories and commentaries were given, all contributing to the high moment of worship. The worshipers engaged in the four sections of the love feast: self-examination, washing each other’s feet, enjoying a simple delicious lunch, and then receiving the broken bread and the cup of the New Testament.

Unlike most other love feast services, however, this celebration included changes in the middle of the organized worship, choirs, praise bands, a cappella singing by the congregation, and songs shown on an overhead projection screen as well as the hymn book. The twelfth panel of the Murals painted by Medford D. Neher also was seen on the screen.

Organized by the pastors, the event was held in the large community room of Peter Becker Community, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Harleysville, Pa.

Will it happen again? Only God knows!

--Levi J. Ziegler is interim pastor at Drexel Hill (Pa.) Church of the Brethren.

Source: 10/8/2008 Newsline

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