Dear Fremont Family:
Last Sunday was awesome! If you were able to be with us in worship for our Centennial Celebration, then you know what I am talking about. It was an amazing day of worship and fellowship. So many glorious things took place I am not sure if I can recount them all, but I am going to try because I, personally, need to give God, and many of you, my thanks and praise.
First, what a crowd! It was thrilling to welcome so many guests and extended family and friends into worship with us. We had 4 former pastors attend. Each of them blessed us by offering leadership in the worship service. Several of them shared stories of how Fremont made an impact on their ministries. Thank you to everyone who came early, welcomed guests, offered hospitality. Your heart of love and generosity really showed.
Second, the Tongan Fellowship sang. Incredible! Their musical offerings were breathtaking. They sang with such heart and praise. Their love for God and for Fremont was evident. Suliasi, a leader in their choir, recalled to me that he preached his first sermon at Fremont in 1993. It is obvious that we are still family with this beloved group. My deep thanks goes out to Rev. Fungalei Taufoou, who went out of his way to have the Tongan Fellowship be with us.
Third, the other special musical guests were wonderful. Laura Jaquith-Bartlett started us off on the right foot with the prelude by first offering testimony to the role that Fremont played in her ministry followed by the reminder of God’s promise to “never forsake.” Then, Denali Porter played magnificently on the organ. At 92 years old, she is still a force to be reckoned with! Thank you so much, Denali. And, let’s not forget our choir. You all were great! Thank you, Lindsay, for seeing that our choir contributed to the music of the day.
Fourth, Rev. Tim Overton-Harris was the perfect preacher for the day. Not only did he bring us greetings from the Bishop, but he regaled us with stories from his childhood and the saints of Fremont who helped shape his life and ministry. Thank you, Tim, and thank you, Charlie, who had to run extra tech to play the soundtracks that Tim incorporated into his sermon!
Fifth, the reception following the worship service was magnificent. The numerous tables of displays that documented the life of Fremont through the decades were such an important part of the day. I had so much fun looking through the old photos, bulletins and memorabilia. The leadership team decided that there was just too much to see in one day so we left the display tables up, and everyone is invited to go down to the Fellowship Hall this Sunday, October 30, to take another look. Thank you to the Centennial planning team for taking lead on the reception, Kathy Elliott, Diane Rheos, Suzanne Wardenaar and Joanne Poff. Honestly, you deserve much of the credit for the entire Centennial Celebration. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your months of hard work planning in advance.
Finally, I want to thank the Worship Design Team for creating a beautiful altar area with the Peace cranes and the gorgeous flowers (thank you, Susan Harwell!), and Jenn Mannhard, who designed a stunning keepsake paper bulletin. These extra touches were exactly what we needed to honor this wonderful occasion.
Honestly, I feel like I am just getting started. Maybe there were other things that you really enjoyed as well. In any case, the Holy Spirit was with us big time, and I am so incredibly grateful for you all. Fremont UMC is 100 years old, and we threw one heck of a birthday party! Now, let’s see what God will do with us next.
Grace and peace,