Monday, November 16, 2009
A Church Anniversary Observed
The congregation I serve organized 30 years ago this month. It was not started for a new purpose but because of a new place, and a bit of a new concept. Active retirement communities began to spring up in the warm states to capture those who retired in our increasingly unrooted and mobile society. Sun Lakes and Sun City are two of the larger models. We have six plus square miles and over 30,000 retirees, or those over 50 nearing retirement, like me.
Most people leave our church for heaven. We are a solid and happy last stop, where groups of friends within the church find each other for extended fellowship through service, hobbies, games, sports.
We have a group learning Bocce Ball?? We have a bus of fans who have adopted the local high school football team. We have service clubs, and of course….gambling runs to the Indian Casinos, and the ever present bowlers, card players, hobbyists, and golfers, of whom I am a part.
In a society that marginalized the aging, we level the playing field by segregating from the world of the young, except for our involvement in our summer homes, and our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. We are family.
Our vision for a community church has survived and is thriving, though denominational churches sprang up over the decades. With the passing of time our building has been planted in the now older part of the community. The oldest of the old, and since Phase 1 resorted to manufactured homes like Florida did, and since the newer communities built larger and more upscale homes, we are often teased gently for our part of the community. Each of the sections has a name. Oakwood, Ironwood, PaloVerde, Cotton Wood, and they call us Plywood??????!!!!!! A derogatory term no doubt. To me it feels like a campus, with a lunchroom abuzz with visiting, a library, a pool hall, lots of pools and walking paths, a pitch and putt course, and for me it has become a solid and blessed place for my last stop before glory. Lord willing.