Back in September, I was honoured to be asked to Preach at the 170th and FINAL Anniversary Service for Lingelbach United Church (formerly Lingelbach Evangelical and Lingelbach Evangelical United Brethren Church).
It is a small yellow brick building that stands on the North-West Corner along highway 7&8 between Stratford and New Hamburg ... on the South-East Corner sits the Cemetery where my father, his parents, brothers, and many members of our family tree ... on the South-West Corner sits the farm that was for almost 140 years, our "home" farm ... It's a significant place in my memory and in my axis mundi ...
To be asked to come and preach at the church where 40 some years ago I was dedicated, and where in the years prior my parents were married, my father was buried, and my grand parents attended, supported and were buried from, was significant and poignant.
The service was noted previously in an earlier posting ... it was a wonderful moment that I will forever be thankful for ... In addition to reaquainting myself with my roots, seeing family members I haven't seen in too long, and being immersed in the place that ultimately gave rise to my present ministry (along with Centennial United in Stratford - also a former Evangelical and Evangelical United Brethren Congregation !!), I left that morning with a special memento of the Church and my family connection there ...
Ms. H. found a copy of the 1958 EUB Hymnal that had been donated by my Grandparents Alvin and Erna ... but what made it extra special to me was the pencilled noted alongside the dedication plate ... I can picture my Uncle John, probably about seven at the time, taking exception to being left out of the dedication, and deciding to surreptiously include his name while no one was looking !!!
For over 50 years that hymn book served the people of Lingelbach with its quaint dedication ... and now that Uncle John, like Uncle Jim, Uncle Bruce, Uncle Glen, Uncle Earl and my dad Sam have all gone, that simple pencil inscription becomes a precious (and precocious) memento of the past !!! I may never sing from this hymn book again, but every time I open it, I remember where I come from, and I reaquaint myself with my history and heritage.
I'm proud to be an Ankenmann. But I'm even more proud to be a child of the Evangelical United Brethren Church !!! (and to be completely honest, I likely would have done the same thing Uncle John did !!)