We gathered on Homecoming Sunday, September 11, 2016 to plant a tree on the Longmeadow Green to commemorate the 300th Anniversary of First Church. Rev. Dr. Jay Terbush delivered a prayer:
A Prayer of Dedication
God the Divine Gardner, 300 years ago you planted a tree in the soil in this area, which was called the church of Jesus Christ—it was just a fragile seedling.
Who could have foreseen that from that small beginning, it would grow and spread its influence, that it would minister to people’s spiritual needs, that in the shade of its branches people would find a place of solace, comfort, friendship, education and service. That tree’s branches have spread the gospel message literally all around the world from this place to Springfield, from Mt Salinda in Africa to Port au Prince, Haiti. Who could have imagined the thousands of people who would sit in its shade and feel the presence of God’s Spirit and be blessed.
That tree, like this one that we are planting today, thrived in the good soil of people’s faith and God’s loving presence. This tree, like the church it represents, will survive storms and threatening conditions, and grow stronger and healthier and better, because of those tough conditions expanding its influence and presence.
So we dedicate this tree as a symbol of our church standing in this community demonstrating God’s presence and our church’s growth and ministry in this community and the world for 300 years. May God bless us, this tree and our church in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.