Most of us have one or more days on our calendar each year in which we remember something that happened in the past. Weddings and birthdays are probably the most celebrated anniversaries, but there are plenty of other things we also remember, including some things we remember but don’t celebrate (like 9/11 in the USA).
This coming Sunday marks a significant day in my life and our family as we look back 37 years to the first Sunday of October in 1984 when we launched a new church in Southern California. After 10 years at a church in the Philadelphia area I was given the opportunity to plant a church in the rapidly growing area east of LA that become the city of Moreno Valley.
Audrey was 2, Rob was 8 months, Jan was 30, and I was 33. I had no experience in starting a church but our nucleus and I had worked hard getting ready for our launch on October 7. We met in a middle school and were so excited that on that first Sunday we had 137 people gather for our first worship celebration.
We bought property in Moreno Valley and eventually built two buildings on the site for worship, children’s ministry, youth ministry, adult classes, banquets, etc. I don’t remember the exact date we occupied the facilities, but it was a great day of celebration on that first Sunday as well as the dedication that followed.
Every year on the first Sunday of October we celebrated the anniversary of the birth of our church. Some of those celebrations were bigger than others. For several years we were known as Moreno Valley Christian Church, but eventually changed our name to Discovery Christian Church to avoid the mix ups with other churches’ with Moreno Valley included in their names.
After 29 years I finalized my decision with our elders to step down from my position a year later. We announced to our congregation on our 29th anniversary that I would conclude my ministry a year later on our 30th anniversary.
My last Sunday was seven years ago on the first Sunday of October in 2014. That Sunday morning time of worship, and the evening celebration of my 30 years, was the most difficult, fulfilling, emotional, and affirming anniversary of all 30 celebrations.
Since I’m looking back in anticipation of this coming Sunday’s anniversary, it’s obvious I remember and rejoice in that first Sunday in 1984 each year. I realize a lot has changed at Discovery Christian Church the last seven years, but not the foundation that was laid at the beginning 37 years ago this coming Sunday.
Congratulations to Discovery Christian Church on the occasion of your 37th anniversary – long time members, newer members, long term staff, more recently added staff, leaders in terms of your elders, and former members who have moved, but still remember Discovery’s anniversaries (like me).
Congratulations to new Senior Pastor Garrison Polsgrove and best wishes as you lead the body of Christ and the ministry of Discovery Christian Church. I’ll celebrate your first anniversary on the first Sunday of October next year as well the 38th anniversary of the church.
To all readers: mark, remember, and celebrate anniversaries that deserve the recognition.
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