I have a handwritten copy of a history presentation about our church. It was written and presented by Marjorie, a charter member of our church. She was a little girl, living a stone’s throw from the church, in the early 1900s. She recalls that the land where our church stands was part of the Wornall Homestead. You may be able to picture the Wornall House at 61st and Wornall. Picture all the land around the church as open prairie. Then overnight, the troops moved in and set up tents and began training for battle in World War I. Shortly thereafter, houses began popping up, the streetcar was extended south and missionaries recruited a handful of folks to start a church. They met in makeshift places, including above the drugstore in Brookside, until they broke ground to build a church at 61st and Ward Parkway.
Marjorie grew up in a church where only men served on the board, prayed at the Table or preached. Now women and men are valued equally as God’s agents of grace. Marjorie may have occasionally visited the Independence Boulevard Christian Church where many elite leaders of the city worshiped in the light of Tiffany Stained Glass windows. Now we occasionally go to Independence Boulevard Christian Church to serve the hungry at Micah Ministry or donate socks and coats for the homeless. Marjorie may have still been around when we began broadcasting the sermons over the local radio. But now we live stream the service to thousands around the globe.
I wish I could talk with Marjorie. I would thank her for writing down her memories but also for helping to build the church that now strongly stands on this corner. I would ask her what she think about her church today with all its changes. And I would thank her for paving the way for my generation. The crazy thing is that someday, someone will find our notes and pictures and wish they could talk to us. They will marvel at how different the world has become. Church will be something we cannot even imagine at this moment. But the spirit that blows then, will be the same one that you and I experience, and the same one that drew Marjorie in. For the spirit of God embraces us and propels us forward.
Please see related articles about our upcoming Centennial.
Grace and peace,