On Feb. 13, 2021, York Seventh-day Adventist Church, in England, celebrated 100 years of the Adventist message in the city. Although we were unable to celebrate together in person we were joined virtually by many past members and pastors who may not have been able to attend physically even if we were able to meet at the church. Even in times of difficulties, we still experienced the blessings of worship through technology.
At peak attendance, over 50 families joined our worship, some from North America where it was still the wee hours of the morning, and some from Africa.
Throughout the day we shared memories of God's leading over a century. The granddaughter of one of the first members and her grandson (fifth generation) who are part of the congregation represent the unbroken line of fellowship over a hundred years. Pastor Roger Neal, a former minister, recalled his experiences in overcoming reluctance by some churches in the area to work with Adventists and how God opened doors for spreading the gospel through music when an Adventist Ghanaian choir took center stage at a cultural event put on by the City Council. Two life-long friends, Joy Barker and Gina Pepper, gave their testimony of how God had miraculously led them to the church. When they tried finding the church again at that location, they were told there had never been a church there. Young people who have grown up in the church shared their experiences of attending church in York. There was a special song by Poppy Hall who is just six years old.
Pastor Ian Sweeney preached at the main service from the text of Psalm 122, and Pastor Jackson closed the day with a message from Psalm 124. Without consulting each other, the Holy Spirit led them both to these inspiring texts which speak to the providence of God in the history of the church. In addition to Pastor Neal and the current pastor, John Francis, former pastors Kyriacou and Kabah also took part in the program or sent greetings. Pastor Allcock shared his message in a letter that was read by Pastor Francis.
While there were memories of the past shared through pictures and stories, we also focused on how the church can continue to minister to the people of the city. The afternoon featured a discussion on the challenges and opportunities for service in a university city with a growing population of seniors and people facing the uncertainty of life after COVID-19. With grateful hearts, we thank God for his leading in the past and look forward to the great reunion when there will be no more parting.