Tuesday, December 8, 2009

College Heights Church 100th Anniversary

Keith Leavitt participated during Sabbath School
Remember. Rejoice. Renew. Those are the words emblazoned on the logo created for the 100th anniversary of the College Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church. And during the weekend of October 16 and 17, 2009, that’s what the church family did.
The Friday evening Vespers Service, planned by Ron Sydenham, featured video testimonies from students and audience participation about the past and present. Led by Joy Fehr, the congregation realized that the spirit of commitment and service which characterized the pioneers still animates the church today. Centennial calendars,created by Brian Leavitt and Edith Fitch, and designed by Jr Ferrer, were distributed after the program. An enthusiastic Afterglow, led by Campus Ministries, completed the evening.

Sabbath was packed with activities. Don Corkum, pastor from 1982 to 1984, shared his beliefs on “An Enduring Faith” in the first worship service; Steve Little, chaplain from 1994 to 1999, spoke about “The Case of the Missing Legs” in the second service. The PAA/CUC Choral Union and the musical group “Rise Above” added to the joy of the day. At each worship service, the congregation participated in an act of renewal: they remembered the past, rejoiced in the present and pledged that “On this centennial Sabbath, we, the people of this church and congregation, consecrate ourselves anew to the cause and service of God.” Belinda Bader and the Worship Committee planned the church services.

During Sabbath School, a play, written by Denise Herr, reviewed the founding of the church, the building of the present sanctuary, and the involvement of the congregation in service. Frank Hippach (Keith Clouten) and Lawrence Morgenson (Larry Herr) revisited some of the challenges of choosing the first slate of church officers; Kelvin Hill, Lew Fleck, Arvin McCarty, and Reuben Lorenson harmonized as they urged the congregation to “Come, let us build on the Hilltop”; Ken Kendall, Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Lacombe, spoke about how the work of the church has touched the community; and children from the Kindergarten, Primary, and Junior Divisions reminded us that “the church is not a building…the church is the people!”

A potluck at the CUC Physical Education Complex, planned by Edith Fitch and her committee, proved to be a feast for the eyes (Marj Dubuc’s creative centerpieces and Cleo Foreman’s white aprons for the servers), for the body (Shepherd’s pie, salads, and a plethora of pies), and for the soul (time to reconnect with friends and to talk about how God has led us).

Some people lingered over the meal, while others left to participate on the history walk, beginning at one of the first hilltop meeting places—the Chapel. There people remembered what the building looked like and enjoyed a play, “Tonsillectomy Days,” presented by the Parkland Pathfinders. The next stop was the John McKibbin Education Centre, formerly the auditorium. Herb Kennedy recalled what it was like to play and worship in the same building. In the church, Wilford Tetz shared memories and pictures of building the sanctuary. Afterwards, many people participated in an “organ crawl” led by Wendy Markosky and Cari Astleford.

The Evensong program, “Ten Decades of Music,” was planned by Brian Leavitt. In 80 minutes, the congregation reviewed the history of the hilltop church and schools through the medium of music. Alma Reimche reenacted the contributions of Mrs. O.W. Reinmuth, CJC piano teacher; the Men of Faith recalled the College Heights Heritage Plays with their “Smoking and Chewing Song”; Phillip Jeffrey’s solo made many people think of Bill McQuary’s moving rendition of “Were You There?”; the Heritage Singers revisited brought a blessing; Reuben Lorenson’s portrayal of Eric B. Hare brought back fond memories; and Gem Fitch’s Centennial Hymn, “Praise to Thee, O Great Jehovah,” inspired members of the congregation to renew their vision and to “face the future, rich in hope, through endless years.”

The celebration continued into the evening with an Old Fashioned Saturday Night Social, planned by Keith Clouten and his committee. A light supper and birthday cake were followed by a number of games featuring balloons, buckets, and umbrellas. The evening—and the centennial celebration—concluded with a Grand March.
May the spirit of remembering, renewing, and rejoicing be ever in our hearts.
Julie Grovet, Communications Secretary

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