Frequently, during this 150th anniversary year, my thoughts have turned to our church building—the old part of the building, that is, the part completed some 147 or 148 years ago, where the great bell was installed and dedicated on “statehood day,” September 9, 1872.
I imagine the comings and goings of people over those years, joyfully celebrating in a house of worship where they were as welcome as their Catholic friends were at Mission San Gabriel. It was 100 years from the founding of the Mission in 1771 before a church building stood anywhere in the San Gabriel Valley where believers of other Christian faiths could worship. I imagine the tears shed within those walls as well, tears of sadness at a funeral, tears of joy at wedding or a baptism.
“If these walls could speak!” Such wonderful stories they could tell.
Next week is Holy Week, culminating in the glory of Easter, celebrated for the 150th year within those same walls, walls expanded considerably in 1922 to include the present Chancel and Choir and expanded again in 1959 to include the wider central nave. Think of those who got it all started, but think as well of those who come to follow in your footsteps over the next 100+ years!
Help us celebrate our wonderful past by joining as much as possible in Holy Week through Easter services. And help us ignite the future not just of this beautiful space but of this wonderful, caring ministry that seeks to incarnate Christ’s spirit of welcome and kindness and generosity all across the San Gabriel Valley.
To truly ignite that future, we need each other’s help, including financial resources! Please be generous… and kind … and welcoming!
A blessed Week, a holy Easter,
The Rev. Gary J. Bradley