In the summer of 2018, Peace, Rogers City celebrated its 25th anniversary. A music-filled worship service was held, and a joyous meal in the fellowship hall was organized, including engaging speakers and presenters. Amid the excitement of decoration and preparation, the members of Peace continued to quietly add to a list posted in the narthex. This list of little and big acts of service was labeled “25 for 25.”
In late spring of 2018, the members of Peace were presented with the 25 for 25 Project. The simple goal of 25 for 25 was for individuals and small groups within the congregation to engage in 25 service projects throughout the community in recognition of 25 years of blessings since Peace’s founding in 1993.
Rev. Derek Riddle, pastor at Peace, spearheaded 25 for 25 as an appropriate and impactful part of the congregation’s anniversary celebration. “Milestones help us look backward, but also to move forward,” he said. “What better way to celebrate the blessings of the past than by being a blessing to others as we look toward the future?”
At first, Pastor Riddle wondered whether the project would catch on. For some time the list stood at only four or five entries, the idea apparently stalled. Before too long, however, the stories came trickling in.
A mother proudly reported that her shy teenage daughter had made muffins and delivered them to the neighbors. An 89 year-old great-grandmother invited a small group into her home to teach them how to bake her specialty recipe, the one everyone begs for at bake sales. A group of ladies reported with smiles that they had cleaned up the garbage along a stretch of road. Pillowcases and stuffed animals were donated to the local shelter. An elderly man’s lunch paid for at McDonald’s. A free potato bar lunch at the VFW. A pocketful of Hershey’s Kisses distributed to strangers. Story after story of the joy of serving came rolling into the office, the warmed heart of each good-deed-doer evident on their face as they shared what they had done.
The list has now grown far beyond 25 acts of service, but members of Peace don’t seem to mind. They’re having far too much fun finding new ways of being Jesus’ hands and feet to the people around them, and showing with their lives what grace looks like.
“The best part was their faces,” said one Peace member, licking ice cream off his fingers after helping pass out ice cream sandwiches at the local campground. “They couldn’t believe we were giving them something for nothing. I just told them, it’s what God does for me … so, why not do it for others?”
Peace has been around for 25 years. It’s a milestone to celebrate. And it’s a perfect time to see the hundreds of ways our Heavenly Father has given us to be a blessing to those around us, now and for the next 25 years.