March 30, 2018

60 years ago today, on March 30, 1958, this congregation received its third class of new members. In just over one year of gathering together for weekly worship, the congregation’s ranks had swollen and a vibrant life of shared ministry had begun to take shape. The first class of members was received on the same Sunday that the congregation was officially recognized, on Oct. 6, 1957. The second class of members was received during the first worship service held in the newly constructed sanctuary, on Dec. 15, 1957. All those who were received in that first year of ministry have come to be known as our “charter members.”

The shape of our 60th anniversary celebrations this year have echoed this pattern of honoring and recognizing the people that formed together to become Prince of Peace here in the heart of Roseville. We had a big celebration, complete with storytelling, former pastors and a potluck last October. Then in December our Advent series was shaped by the memory of how this church building came into being, commemorating the 60 years now that God’s praises have been lifted high along with countless prayers, baptisms, holy suppers, and more than a few sermons preached and hymns sung aloud.

At the end of this past January we marked the occasion of the official forming of the Prince of Peace “Women’s Guild” on January 28, 1958. Our guest preacher was Reverend Sonja Hagander, herself a daughter of the congregation, who helped us to be reminded of all the ways in which our ministry has been led and shaped by the women of this church. Much more than nostalgia, this year of commemorations has helped to remind us of who we are and how we came to be where we are today.

As we bring our 60th anniversary celebrations to a close, it’s fitting that we should lift up, once more, our “charter members.” Many are now included in the great cloud of witnesses that together with all the saints continue to give strength to the church in their memory. Some “charter members” left to join other communities of faith but their impact and contributions to this body are not forgotten. Finally, there are a precious few charter members still on our Prince of Peace roster and they continue to inspire us through their love of this church.

On Sunday, April 15th we will commemorate the conclusion of our 60th anniversary year with “Charter Member” Sunday. St. Paul Area Synod Bishop Patricia Lull will be our guest preacher during both of our regularly scheduled worship services. Any Charter Members (whether currently on the roster or not) who can join us this morning will help to make this occasion even more special. This opportunity to be reminded of and to celebrate those who first gathered in this place will inspire all of us who now follow in their footsteps.