Eau Claire Evangelical Missionary Church celebrated its 60th anniversary the weekend of October 24/25. A booklet with a brief history of the church's beginnings and highlights of years passed was made available for the event.
A country community supper was held in the local community centre. About 75 people from the church and the community enjoyed hearty helpings of home-made beef, chicken and vegetable stews followed by freshly made desserts. at no point during the dinner was there a lull in conversation. Many memories were being shared - there were some tears and lots of laughter as people remembered those who had founded the church, their love for the people of the near North of Ontario and their devotion to Jesus.
Special musical guests, Hank and Janet Sonnenberg sang upbeat old time gospel tunes after the meal that had our youngest ones dancing and some of the oldest members flooded with good memories. There was a sweet spirit in the place that reminded us that life is not all about us, but all about Jesus.
Regional Minister, Claran martin, brought greetings in our anniversary service on Sunday morning and presented a certificate and letter from President Phil Delsaut to celebrate our anniversary. Bonnie and Mike, two children of the founding pastor, Earl Pannabecker, shared some stories. The Sonnenbergs sang and the congregation also heartily joined together in singing songs that reflect our identity such as "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus" and "You Are My Vision." Pastor Jed ended with an encouragement to keep Jesus at the center of all that we do and say.
Our prayer for this Anniversary weekend was that those who used to attend church would rediscover the joy and fellowship in Jesus, and that others would see Jesus in and through us. This will be an ongoing prayer as we seek to be "followers of Jesus who make followers of Jesus" in our corner of the Near North.