Jackson church celebrates 140 of service

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Add St. John's United Church of Christ in Jackson to churches enjoying longevity. Yes, 140 years after opening its doors, St. John's remains a pillar in the community. "Cherishing Our Past and Embracing Our Future" was the theme for this anniversary celebration, which took place on Sunday, June 11.

Reflections of the past included a natural disaster -- the 1922 tornado -- which required rebuilding the church; the congregation's German roots; the first services in the Rev. Frank Eschenfeld's home; and more.

Popcorn symbolized the future to -- how appropriate -- children, using 140 kernels. Its was a perfect representation for youngsters. The pastor, Rodney Pensel, explained the significance of the "popping of a popcorn kernel." He said that "God's influence can help the church expand and oftentimes will take them to new places and experiences."

Before moving on to these new experiences, it was fitting that the church celebrate where it is now. After all, that's what the day was about. And churches always celebrate with food! It must be in every congregation's bylaws! So after the services, attendees enjoyed a potluck meal and played games outside in the yard. Food and fun -- just like families do!

"As the family goes, so goes the nation." These words, attributed to Pope John Paul II," are often quoted to express the role the family plays in society. If it is true that families shape the nation, it is also true that churches shape communities. In fact, communities hinge on strong churches. Such churches add stability. Upon children, churches make an impression; on adults, they provide direction; and after 140 years, on both, a reason for celebration.

Every community should be as fortunate, having a firm spiritual foundation and faith for the future.

Congratulations, St. John's -- and here's to the next 140 years.

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