“O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” —Psalm 136:1, NRSV
This past week we observed the 241st Anniversary of the United States Declaration of Independence. It’s a grand time to celebrate the accomplishments of a great nation and to reflect on what it means to be a people of freedom almost 250 years later. Hopefully, along with eating barbecue, watermelon, and ice cream, we were able to thank God for the blessings of living in a land of abundance. Maybe as we watched the fireworks or lit some sparklers, the colorful splendor reminded us of the joy we have in residing in a nation that honors creativity and beauty. Possibly, as we spent time with family and friends, we were reminded of how great it is to live in a country with some of the most caring and compassionate people the world has ever known—many of whom have made enormous sacrifices for the freedoms we enjoy. If you missed the larger picture of the 4th of July, then pause now and thank God for the rights we have that include “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Our history sets the stage for our future. The accomplishments of the past can propel us into an even brighter future. Learning from both our successes and our failures as a nation creates a richer fulfillment of the vision cast in our founding as a nation.
Almost 100 years after the founding of the United States (91 years to be exact), the roots of what is known as Canterbury United Methodist Church sunk into the ground in 1867. Preaching services were held in brush arbors (crudely constructed outdoor structures) and when the weather was bad, in people’s homes. A church building was eventually built west of Mountain Brook Village on Hollywood Boulevard and took on the name Union Hill. You will hear more about our history as we get closer to our 150th Anniversary on October 15, 2017.
Canterbury has a vibrant history that includes relocations and a merger of two congregations that culminated in the first worship service on the current property on October 12, 1952, in what is now known as Canterbury Hall. God has blessed this congregation over the last 150 years, and we want to celebrate God’s faithfulness. Additionally, we want to celebrate the thousands of people who have made Canterbury what it is. Keep an eye out for ways you can learn more about this great congregation and for activities that you and your family will want to share in as we “give thanks to God…for his steadfast love endures forever.” God has even more in store for us as we look to our future!
Rev. Dale Cohen
Senior Pastor of Canterbury United Methodist Church