June 2022 marked the 75th Anniversary of Ross Road Community Church, formerly East Aldergrove MB. The anniversary came at a challenging time. We were still transitioning from COVID. Who is here? Who isn’t here? What does the church look like? Will people want to attend a larger event? Questions we didn’t have answers to. We moved forward anyways.
We decided to remember our past and anticipate our future.
We remembered our past by inviting people from our history, our messy history. The service brought back many memories, good and bad. The memory of James Penner, a great preacher who drew in lots of people to hear God’s word. But it also reminded us that he had a large burden, was burnt out and needed to leave the church. We invited him to preach, and in doing so, it felt like a sigh of relief to see him doing well. We remembered God was in control all along.
We invited Brian Doerksen and his father Harry to lead worship. They once attended RRCC but decided they fit better elsewhere. This reminded us of one of the first “worship wars” that our church went through. Brian and Harry led us in worship. It was healing to have them back. and We remembered to rest in the loving arms of the father.
We faced the memory of people who left due to theological differences. Many of these people returned for this service. Our theological difference may not have been resolved but our unity in our good God was evident. As we were confronted with our hard times, we remembered that God works even through hardships and hurt.
We remembered God’s faithfulness as the history of the church was shared. A history that included years of evangelistic events, planting churches, and increasing attendance. We remembered the many faces who had been a part of our church history and been a part of what God has done through our church. We remembered the kids who grew up into adults and are now teaching Sunday School. We remembered the teens who were baptized and are now raising their own kids. We remembered the leaders who were empowered to become elders. We remembered God works in and through all sorts of people.
But we also anticipated our future. We had a puppet show to celebrate the children with us. We anticipated the future by baptizing a young adult who proclaimed Jesus as Lord of their life. We anticipated not because of who we are, but because of who God is. Because he is working in us and through us despite our flaws. Despite the times we get caught up in something that will one day be trivial. He wants to use us.
We celebrated and united over a meal after the service. Young and old, new and past, all coming together to celebrate a God that transcends a building, our flaws, or difficulties.
We didn’t know what to expect from the service. We had many questions. What we should have expected is God coming through as he has always done for the past 75 years of our church and ever since he said, “Let there be light.” God is faithful.
The day was chaotic, we had to move inside due to the weather, transitions were bumpy, and people spoke longer than anticipated. But just like our history, piece by piece it was woven into the tapestry to glorify God and unite his people. His messy people, doing messy ministry, to glorify a beautiful God.
Story Written by Bobby Rau – Pastor of Community Life.