Whether your congregation is 2 or 102 years old, congregational anniversary celebrations are a time to gather together and celebrate memories and history.
Many activities and events can be planned to celebrate your congregation.
To begin, appoint a committee to oversee all planning and details to ensure a successful celebration. This committee should include the pastor, a couple elder members of the congregation and a few younger members. The committee will meet and discuss a possible theme, a date, time and place for your celebration.
The first activity to be planned should include a Holy Communion service for your congregation. The sacraments and the word are the foundation of your congregation. The sacrament of Holy Communion is especially important in this celebration as it is the sacrament joining your congregation together spiritually and physically.
The service can include a sermon from your synod's bishop or a former pastor or it can be a liturgy written by members of your congregation. Prayers written by members of your congregation and favorite hymns can also be included. The offering from this service can be given to a ministry or program supported by your congregation in honor of the anniversary.
While planning the service and celebration, encourage congregational involvement. Each week in the bulletin spotlight a piece of history or a group from your congregation. These spotlights will prepare members for the celebration and educate them about their past. Also, invite members to send in pictures or bring photo albums of church activities and groups to share.
Have your youth group and Sunday school children get involved in sharing the memories by interviewing older members about the congregation and then either make a video or write a story about them. A scrapbook or slide show can be made from the pictures sent in before the celebrating begins. These photos and interviews can be used as entertainment for the day and show the many faces of your congregation.
Once the service and entertainment are planned for the day of the anniversary celebration, plan an anniversary dinner for your members to share. Invite past lay leaders, members, friends of the congregation and community members to this celebration and to share the memories.
To save money, ask your members to bring their own dish with recipe cards to share for the meal. These recipe cards can be compiled to create an anniversary cookbook, a great keepsake to remember this celebration.
Your celebration will provide your congregation with an opportunity to reflect on the past, celebrate the present and move toward the future.