If you’ve ever seen the musical, or the movie, “RENT” then you likely know how many minutes there are in a year. In case you don’t it is 525,600. Just over half a million minutes every year. Which I find astonishing. But, let me throw out just another few numbers for you:
74,416,320 minutes and 7,922,880 minutes
Almost 74.5 MILLION minutes and just under 8 MILLION minutes. You might be thinking, “What do those numbers mean, Alex?” Well, I am glad you asked! I entered a few dates into a handy calculator I found online to come up with the number of minutes that will have elapsed between two separate starting points, and the 27th of June this summer. 74.4 MILLION minutes will have elapsed since Marshfield Christian Church was founded on December 31st, 1879.
Since we were unable to celebrate our 141st birthday as a congregation last winter, we felt we might as well celebrate our 141 ½ birthday this summer! In case you are curious, at the celebration in June we will have 4,476,960 minutes left until we can celebrate our 150th anniversary as a community of faith.
Those eight and a half years will fly by, as is attested to by the second number above, 7.9 million (and some change). 7.9 million minutes is just over 15 years, 10.6% of the time Marshfield Christian Church has been ministering to folks in Webster County, and how long I will have served as the pastor of MCC on June 27th this year.
On the one hand, it seems like just yesterday when Jennie, Mason, Kaia, and I first came to Marshfield. I still remember that first visit to meet with the search committee 15 years ago, coming back to speak to the congregation on a late-spring evening, and the first nerve-wracking and ministry-filled weeks as your pastor. (Including a very generous offer from some LDS missionaries to help us unpack, even after I told them I was moving to town to be the pastor here.)
On the other hand, so much has changed since then. Mason was a 2nd grader in the fall after we moved to Marshfield and Kaia was not yet in elementary school. Now both are high school graduates and are continuing to grow and mature (and make their parents immensely proud in the process.) I have been back to seminary, we have moved a couple of times (how many depends on how you count the process of selling our house on Hillside and building our current home), and I certainly have less hair than I did in 2006. And, more of what I do have is turning a shade I like to call “artic blonde.”
Back to the 27th of June, we are planning a time of worship and celebration in the pavilion here at the church. The day will begin at 10:30 with a time of worship and some “extra” singing (since we will be outside)! We will celebrate God’s faithfulness and the ministry and mission of the church, then after our time of worship, we will gather around the table for a meal. You remember what that was like, right? Following our picnic lunch (more details on that as time draws closer) we will have a time to fellowship and share stories as we have a “drop-in” celebration of the last fifteen years of shared ministry together. That will continue until about 3 pm. We also plan on having some projection equipment set up so we will be able to see the well-wishes of folks who may not be able to make it in person.
I hope you are as excited about the opportunity to spend some time in fellowship together again. These past months have been so very hard on us all, and we are all feeling the effects of the stresses and isolation. We hope that this time of celebration will be a much-needed balm for our spirits as we look with hope to the future and how God will continue to work in our lives and in our community.