Wow! Wow, oh wow! We had a terrific day this past Sunday. Wow! On December 12th Shepherd King celebrated its 50th anniversary and what a tremendous party we had!
First of all, everything looked beautiful. So many people came out to help clean inside and out, plant new flowers, decorate, and set up tables for the lunch that the whole place was radiant. White roses on the altar and on each of the tables only made things more glorious. There were picture albums placed on the long, conference table for people to see; a harpist accompanied our meal. It couldn't possibly have been better.
Bishop Ray Tieman of the Southwestern Texas synod was our guest preacher (and he gave a fine sermon). He also led a Sunday school forum talking about some of the wonderful ministries in the ELCA. The nave was full of people as the service began with the handbell choir playing Vivaldi's "Gloria". Then we baptized the grandson of the first child baptized at Shepherd King 50 years ago and Peyton, the little one, was adorable. A dozen or more children came forward for the children's sermon and Pastor Braulick's grandchildren knew all the answers (imagine that).
The catered lunch was delicious! People had ample time to visit with one another and then we moved back to the sanctuary for the program. Council President Shirley Kearns introduced charter members, former council presidents and former pastors. Then we watched a wonderful slide show DVD of pictures from the past (thanks, Stephanie) which had people "ooo-ing," "ahhh-ing," and laughing. Pastor Huth, Shepherd King's founding pastor, spoke first sharing memories of the early days and provoking us to laughter many times. Then Pastor Braulick spoke, Pastor Kerns, and Pastor Jus. We sang hymns and heard stories of the good old days. Even when everything was over people lingered as though they couldn't bear to leave.
My thanks to everyone who worked so hard to put together this lovely 50th Anniversary celebration for the congregation. As we reviewed Shepherd King's history we were reminded that God is so good. When Pastor Huth arrived here in 1960 there was nothing but grass and some scraggly trees. Shepherd King originally met in a community hall at North Star Mall (which the mall manager, a Roman Catholic, arranged for us to use free of charge). From that small beginning God established a strong and faithful community of people where the gospel has been proclaimed, children have been raised in the faith, God has been glorified in music and prayer, the hungry have been fed, the poor have been clothed, and we have seen the grace of Jesus Christ alive in the world. What a wonderful day! Praise God for this fine group of people and for the life God gives to us all.