July 2, 2016

Mostly clear

Nazarene churches celebrate 100th anniversary of the denomination

On Oct. 5, local Church of the Nazarene churches will join 18,000 other Nazarene churches to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the denomination.

Preparations for the day began in 2004 with the writing and translation of materials sent to every Nazarene church across the globe. The plan is that all 1.7 million members of the international church will hear the same sermon themes, celebrate with the same music and participate in the same readings in 24 time zones on the same day.

“Our congregation is excited to celebrate this anniversary with all of our Nazarene family around the world,” said Pete Ryder, pastor of Medina Church of the Nazarene, in a news release. “At the same time, we want to emphasize that the family never stops growing, and there is plenty of room for all. In our society today, it seems that relationships often don’t last very long. We invite our community to join us on Oct. 5 to see relationships that have remained strong for 100 years.”

The anniversary celebration will begin at 10:30 a.m. at Medina Church of the Nazarene, 6901 Wooster Pike, Montville Township. The Medina congregation, established in 1941, dedicated a brand new building in May.

Worship will be held at 10:45 a.m. at Brunswick Church of the Nazarene, 3965 Center Road. Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. at Wadsworth Church of the Nazarene, 743 High St.

Dan Campbell, pastor of the Brunswick congregation, said services reflect the culture of the congregations around the world, and that also reflects the core values of the church.

“We believe in ‘unity in the essentials’ — our core values — and ‘liberty in the non-essentials,’ which allows for diversity of worship,” Campbell said. “Everyone doesn’t have the same worship style. Some churches have very formal, high church services, while others have an informal approach.”
The Brunswick church celebrated its 50th anniversary as a congregation this spring.

The Church of the Nazarene has its roots in Methodism, drawn from the teachings of English evangelist John Wesley (1703-1791). The denomination was established in October 1908 in Pilot Point, Texas, the culmination of mergers of several like-minded groups. The mission of the Church of the Nazarene is to make Christlike disciples in the nations.

With a long history of mission work and 20th- and 21st-century advances in communication and transportation, the Church of the Nazarene has deliberately decided to steer an international course.

“A century ago, the Nazarenes were an American family with relatives in other countries,” wrote Stan Ingersol, the denomination’s archivist, in a brief history of the group on the Web site nazarene.org. “Today we are an international family of districts and congregations planted on each of Earth’s inhabited continents. No single language, race, or nationality claims a majority of our members.”

Attesting to the success of the denomination’s international initiative, the Church of the Nazarene now includes graduate theological seminaries in North America, Central America, and Asia-Pacific; liberal arts colleges in Africa, Canada, Korea, and the United States; nearly 40 theological schools worldwide; hospitals in Swaziland, India, and Papua New Guinea; radio broadcasts in 30 languages; and printed materials in 103 languages.

The denomination has been headquartered in Kansas City, Mo, since 1912.