Board of General Superintendents Joins Nazarenes in Celebrating 100 Years

On October 5, 2008, the international family of the Church of the Nazarene joined together across 24 times zones in the Centennial Celebration. Local churches in 151 world areas celebrated diversity within unity in taking the Lord’s Supper and sharing the same sermon and scriptures. Highlights around the world to celebrate the 100th anniversary included baptizing new believers, receiving new church members, planting new churches, and involving youth and children in emphasizing our heritage, message, and mission.

Members of the Board of General Superintendents were privileged to participate in six different venues. Their experiences illustrate the variety of celebration activities and cultural adaptations of worship and training that took place around the world.

Nazarene - Faculty APNTS
Olathe, KS, College Church
of the Nazarene
Dr. Paul G. Cunningham joined in worship with the congregation at Olathe, Kansas, College Church of the Nazarene to celebrate the 100th anniversary. Dr. Cunningham served College Church as senior pastor for 30 years before being elected general superintendent in 1993. Under the leadership of current pastor David Graves, College Church joined the worldwide Church of the Nazarene in celebrating the Lord’s Supper. Heritage Awards were given to nine families, Centennial music and videos were featured, and a special offering for the new Global Ministry Center was received.                                                       

With 2,695 in attendance, the congregation welcomed 62 new church members, and 35 converts were baptized. Dr. Cunningham preached the Centennial message and called the day a wonderful celebration of God’s blessings on Nazarene churches everywhere as we continue to lift up the message of holiness.

Dr. James H. Diehl celebrated Centennial Sunday morning at Fremont, Nebraska, Church of the Nazarene, the church over which he officiated its first service as district superintendent in 1982 in a Holiday Inn with 20 people present. Today, 26 years later, Fremont is the largest Nazarene church in Nebraska, with over 450 people present on October 5. Rev. Tom Shaw, founding pastor, continues serving there. Dr. Diehl also preached at a united afternoon celebration at Council Bluffs, Iowa, First Church, with Nazarenes from the greater Omaha/Council Bluffs area, including both district superintendents and spouses: Dr. and Mrs. Larry White (Nebraska) and Rev. and Mrs. Garey Miller (Iowa). Phineas Bresee, considered the primary founder of the Church of the Nazarene, pastored the Methodist Church in Council Bluffs over 100 years ago, and Dr. Diehl called it wonderful being back in Bresee’s territory on this historic day. The crowd raised an offering of $1,700 for a downtown Omaha compassionate ministry and ended with a robust singing of “Called Unto Holiness.” Dr. Diehl preached on “We Still Believe!” and many called it a “true camp meeting service” of God’s blessings.

Dr. Nina G. Gunter participated in a weekend of activities in Nashville, Tennessee, with the campus family of Trevecca Nazarene University (TNU) and President Dan Boone and the congregation of Trevecca Community Church of the Nazarene (TCC) with Pastor Dwight Gunter. The Sunday morning service at TCC opened with a Hallelujah March of 100 people. Youth participated in a video dialog about being Nazarenes, children presented “The Hallelujah March” play reenacting the union at Pilot Point, Texas, in 1908 to the great delight of all, and State Senator Mae Beavers, a member of TCC, delivered a proclamation from the State of Tennessee recognizing the Centennial Celebration of the Church of the Nazarene. Dr. Gunter also dedicated TCC’s newest facility, the Family Life Center. To the crowd of 1,225 in attendance, she preached that we should “not allow milestones to become tombstones because God inspires newness and creativity.” Sunday evening in the TNU Centennial service with 1,500 in attendance, the Trevecca Heritage Men’s Chorale sang “Called Unto Holiness” in a special Centennial arrangement by two TNU professors, and Dr. Gunter preached on “Celebrate the Past—Shape the Future.” On Monday, October 6, she joined Dr. Paul Bassett, Dr. Stan Ingersol, and Professor Steve Hoskins as speakers in the first of a two-day Centennial Conference lecture series at TNU on the history of the Church of the Nazarene. To about 300 in attendance, she spoke on the connection of higher education and the Church of the Nazarene through the first 100 years. Professor Hoskins conducted a public 45-minute interview with her, and she was also interviewed privately by the religion editor of The Tennessean newspaper for an upcoming article.

Dr. Jesse C. Middendorf worshiped with the congregation of Richardson, Texas, Church of the Nazarene, where he served as senior pastor for almost eight years. Four Centennial Heritage Awards were presented, the Centennial video was shared, and Pastor Darius Salter shared historical insights. “It was a wonderful day with lively music,” said Dr. Middendorf. “The communion service was especially moving as we celebrated in recognition of the global community of faith we call the Church of the Nazarene, gathered symbolically around the Lord’s Table.” Dr. Middendorf preached the Centennial sermon, “The Church as a Chosen People.” He is the author of the Centennial sermon based on 1 Peter 2: 9-10, the recommended sermon resource for all Nazarenes on Centennial Celebration Sunday, translated into many languages and distributed for global usage.

Nazarene - Faculty APNTS
 The Centennial Celebration in
Dr. Jerry D. Porter reports a great Centennial Celebration with Nazarene brothers and sisters in Awassa, Ethiopia. Dr. Porter is the jurisdictional general superintendent for the Africa Region. The celebration began at 9 a.m. and ended at 3 p.m. with a variety of worship, praise, and fellowship activities. Significant conversions were exemplified in the testimonies of several Muslim witch doctors telling of their new life in Christ. The day included baptizing new believers, Spirit-filled music, and altars lined with people seeking God.

Dr. J. K. Warrick
joined the Central Florida District in a Centennial Leadership Forum sponsored by the district’s Sunday School & Discipleship Ministries International, Nazarene Missions International, and Nazarene Youth International on Saturday, October 4. The conference, hosted by Orlando Center Pointe Community Church of the Nazarene, featured Dr. Warrick and two civic leaders as primary speakers and several additional concept speakers on a variety of leadership topics. Dr. Warrick preached at Center Pointe Church on Centennial Sunday, joining with Pastor Greg Mills and almost 1,000 in attendance. Dr. Warrick said the day was highlighted by “great music, communion, and over 25 people making decisions for Christ and His Kingdom!”

Speaking on behalf of the Board of General Superintendents, Dr. Middendorf, chair, said, “As we celebrate the past and begin a new century, we look to an even brighter missional future.”