Remembering God's Faithfulness

The Final Worship Service of McBain Christian Reformed Church

The ballots had been counted, and we, the members of the McBain CRC, had voted to close our church after ninety-seven years of service. The decision came after a year of prayer, soul-searching, and seeking guidance from the denomination’s Home Missions office.

Three people were appointed to plan the closing service; we hardly knew where to begin. But we chose the theme “Celebrating God’s Faithfulness.”

We contacted all living former pastors and invited them to be involved. Some participated in the service, while others sent letters or DVDs sharing their memories of McBain; these were shared with the congregation at the Celebration Dinner that was held the night before our closing service. (One pastor drove six hours to attend the dinner and then drove back to preach in his own church!) Participants in the service included our interim pastor, two former pastors, three pastors who grew up in our church, and our mentor from classis.

Each participating pastor brought greetings, gave a few personal reflections, and then led a part of the service. At the end of the service, the youngest pastor—one who had grown up in our church and had recently accepted his first call—led us in our final communion. At the end of the service, all participating pastors (plus two in attendance at the service) gave the final benediction in unison. We were blessed!

We rejoiced in God’s faithfulness, thanked God for his goodness, and grieved our loss. Now each individual and family is searching for a new church family to join in worship and service. May God be praised!

A TIME TO WORSHIP

Greetings and Reflections

Call to Worship

Scripture: Psalm 90:1-2

Song: “O God, Our Help in Ages Past” (st. 1, 2) LUYH 405, PH 210, PsH 170, TH 30, WR 84

Scripture: Psalm 90:16-17

Song: “O God, Our Help in Ages Past” (st. 3, 6)

We Receive God’s Greeting

We Greet Each Other

A TIME FOR THANKSGIVING

Hymn of Praise: “Let All Things Now Living” LUYH 5, PH 554, PsH 453, TH 125, WR 22

Greetings and Reflections

Prayers of the People: “A Litany of Thanks”

Pastor: O Lord our God, for the vision of those who planned for this congregation,
and for the commitment and dedication of all who served together at the time of origin, 97 years ago,

People: We give you thanks, O Lord.

Pastor: For those who have served so faithfully in leadership positions as pastors, elders, deacons, and staff members;
for those who have willingly given of their efforts to teach, encourage, counsel and sponsor;
for those who have been such a part of our fellowship for many years, and now serve you in the church triumphant in heaven,

People: We give you thanks, O Lord.

Pastor: For the ways in which we have been able to care for one another, support one another on the journey of life, pray for one another, and give strength to one another;
for baptisms we’ve celebrated, professions of faith we have heard, and answers to prayer that we have experienced;
for a congregation that has always desired to worship you faithfully and vibrantly, hearing your Word, singing your praise, and seeking your strength,

People: We give you thanks, O Lord.

Pastor: For a commitment to remain true to your Word in a world of confusing and conflicting voices;
for generosity that has enabled us to reach far beyond this community with the word and witness of the gospel;
for hundreds of children and youth who have been here as they were trained in the ways of the Lord and now serve him around the world,

People: We give you thanks, O Lord.

Pastor: And as we disband now as a congregation, for opportunities to thrive, worship, and serve in other parts of your kingdom,

People: We give you thanks, O Lord.

—from the closing service of the First CRC of Muskegon, Mich.

Song of Response: “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” LUYH 348, PH 276, PsH 556, TH 32, WR 72

A TIME OF CONFESSION

Greetings and Reflections

Call to Confession

Prayer of Confession

Words of Assurance

Sung Prayer for Forgiveness: “Remember Not, O God” LUYH 632, PsH 254, TH 488

A TIME OF LAMENT, ASSURANCE, AND ENCOURAGEMENT

Scripture: Psalm 42:1-5

Song of Assurance: “On Eagle’s Wings” (Michael Joncas, sung by women’s ensemble)

Encouragement and Reflections

A TIME FOR PETITION

A Prayer for the People

A TIME TO GIVE

Song: “Ten Thousand Reasons” LUYH 559

Offerings

A TIME FOR INSTRUCTION

Prayer for Illumination

Scripture: Psalm 145

Message: “Proclaiming God’s Praise”

Prayer of Application

Song of Response: “You Servants of God, Your Master Proclaim” (st. 1, 3, 4) PsH 477

A TIME TO CELEBRATE GOD’S LOVE

Greetings and Reflections

Communion

Songs:
“Lift Up Your Hearts unto the Lord” LUYH 844, PsH 309, WR 120
“I Will Sing of the Mercies of the Lord Forever” PsH 169, WR 60
“There is a Redeemer” LUYH 833, SNC 145, WR 117
“In Christ Alone” LUYH 770

A Prayer of Thanksgiving
Gracious God, at your table you strengthen us for service wherever you will send us. As we leave this place that has been a home for worship and mission, help us to gather in other settings that will provide further opportunities for our life and ministry. Welcome us forever in your embrace, until that day when all your people throughout the world worship together around the throne of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

—Prayer of Thanksgiving after communion used by permission of Augsburg Fortress

A TIME TO DEPART WITH GOD’S BLESSING

Closing Words

Benediction

Doxology
“My Friends, May You Grow in Grace” LUYH 938, SNC 288
“Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow” LUYH 965, PH 591/592, PsH 638, TH 731/732/733, WR 34/44/147

Postlude

Judy Heethuis was a member of the McBain CRC for 40 years when it closed in October. At that time she was serving as an elder, worship planner, and organist.