Church Anniversary

From the Open Files of:

The Lutheran Resource Center, 641-357-4451

Contributed by:

Mount Morris Holden Lutheran Church

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Today we gather to celebrate 140 years of God's gracious acts for His people at this place.  As God has called people to Himself, guided them through life, and brought many home to Himself here at Mount Morris Holden Lutheran Church, we are reminded of God's saving acts toward His ancient people Israel.  Thus their experience forms the theme for our worship this special day.




ENTRANCE HYMN           "The Church of Christ…"                                          LBW #433


Pastor: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

People: Amen.

Pastor: This is the name by which our God reveals Himself.

People: This is the name He has given us in baptism.

Pastor: In this name we have gathered these 140 years.

People: In this name we gather today to celebrate his gracious acts.

READING                            Exodus 14:21-22, 30-31; 1 Corinthians 10:1-4

(Israel passes through the sea on dry ground; Paul calls this their "baptism.")

Pastor: As God delivered Israel from bondage through water, so He has delivered us from slavery to sin through the waters of baptism.

People: We are His people now, called by His name, set free to serve Him.

Pastor: Today we remember and celebrate all whom God has called to be His from this place.  Since Mount Morris Holden Lutheran Church was founded, over 1400 people have been baptized here.

People: We praise God for His gracious action in baptism; we thank Him for the privilege of bringing children and adults alike to the font; we rejoice in the cleansing of baptism received by so many in this place.

READING                      Numbers 14:1-4, 13, 17-20

           (Israel complains; God forgives.)

Pastor: God's people Israel were not perfect; they grumbled and complained.  But they asked God's forgiveness, and in grace, He gave it.  We here at Mount Morris Holden Lutheran Church are likewise imperfect people, and each week we have honestly acknowledged our sinfulness, as we do this day also, for we know that in Christ, we have forgiveness so we do this day also, for we know that in Christ, we have forgiveness so that we turn from our sin and seek to serve God.

People: Gracious God, we know that we are in bondage to sin.  We complain in spite of Your gracious provision, we grumble in spite of Your gracious provision, we grumble in spite of Your love, we rebel against Your will.  Forgive us, we pray, our sinful acts and thoughts, for the sake of Your Son Jesus Christ.  Grant us Your Spirit that He may renew our hearts and inspire us to service.

(A time of silence)

Pastor: God has forgiven your sin, as He did for Israel of old.  And He does so not because we merit it; we don't.  No, He does so solely for the sake of Jesus, who died for us that we may live.  So now, as has been done from this chancel 7000 times, I announce the grace of God to you, and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

People: Amen

READING                            Exodus 15:1-2

(Moses sings a song of praise to God.)

SPECIAL MUSIC           "Let Us Give Our Thanks Together"              Choir


Pastor: Saving God, God of history and time, we thank You for the many gracious acts of salvation You have visited upon this congregation in its 140 years.  Continue to bless us with Your presence, as you come to us in Word and sacraments, and make of us a city set on a hill, a light that cannot be hidden, that others may know of Your great love.  Through Jesus Christ, Your Son, and also our Lord.  With You and the Holy Spirit, He lives and rules for all time.  Amen.

SPECIAL MUSIC           "That's What Faith Must Be"


READING                      Deuteronomy 5:1-6

              (The Lord speaks to His people.)

Pastor: As God spoke of old to Israel, so He speaks to us today in His Word.

People: We gladly hear and learn from it.

Pastor: From this place the Scriptures have been read over 10,000 times in worship at God's house.

People: We give thanks for the saving Word as it continues to come to us.

READING                            Luke 19:1-10

              (The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.)

HYMN                            "O God of Vision"



READING                           Exodus 25:1-2

              (God invites Israel to bring an offering.)

OFFERING AND HYMN           "O God, Our Help in Ages Past"                            #320

OFFERTORY                      "Let the vineyards…"


Pastor: For many years, O God, You have blessed Your people in this congregation.  As You guided and protected Your people Israel, so You have guided us.  We thank You this day for the past, in which You have made known Your salvation time and time again. 

              For Your past blessings,

People: we give you thanks.

Pastor: While we celebrate the past, we nevertheless do not forget that You are with us this very moment, O Lord.  And today we pray for those in present need…

For Your present blessing,

People: we pray, O Lord.


Pastor: And even as we celebrate our past and rejoice in our present, we also look forward with eager eyes to the future.  We pray that You would continue to make Your saving acts known among us.  Give us a zeal for mission.  Help us to look beyond our walls to those who do not know You.  Make this church a blessing to those around us, and embolden us to move forward with strength toward what lies ahead. 

For our future,

People: we pray your Guidance and blessing.  Amen

READING                            Exodus 16:10-15

              (God provides manna to Israel.)

Pastor: God provided manna in the desert to feed His people Israel.  Today He provided another food to feed us; the body and blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, given to us in Holy Communion.  May the Lord be with you.


People: And also with you.

Pastor: Let us lift our hearts in worship to our great God.

People: We give Him thanks and praise.

Pastor: It is good for us to give thanks to our gracious God.  We remember this day His many blessings to us over the years, but most of all we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord, who this day once again comes to us in His body and blood.  Therefore, we praise God with all angels, and with all the saints, as we join the unending hymn:

SANCTUS                      "Holy, holy, holy"



AGNUS DEI           "Lamb of God"


              "Come, Risen Lord"

              "Now We Join in Celebration"

              "For the Bread Which You Have Broken"


Pastor: God of all grace, we thank You that You have this day refreshed with Your body and blood.  We thank You that for many years You have made Your saving presence known among us in the sacrament, and that month after month, year after year, You have constantly forgiven our sins and assured us of live and salvation through it.  Today may we be strengthened in our faith, and given resolve in our purpose to move forward in grace.  Through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.


              (These words, first spoken by Aaron to Israel, are fitting also for us.)

Pastor: The Lord bless you and keep you.  The Lord make His face shine upon you.  The Lord look upon you with favor, and give you peace.

People: Amen and Amen.

CLOSING HYMN           "Guide Me Ever, Great Redeemer"



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