Kenai church marking anniversary on Sunday

Posted: Monday, April 12, 2004

Often the stuff of the heaviest school books history over the years has drawn yawns and nodding heads from many a pupil. Much is to be learned from the subject, though, and some Kenai Peninsula church women have set upon the task of making it interesting, at least for those attending the upcoming 50th anniversary celebration of the United Methodist Church of the New Covenant in Kenai.

On Sunday, all are invited to join the eight members of the history committee two who actually have been around since it all began as they take visitors on a walk through time, telling of the church's beginnings as a cooperative effort by eight denominations in the Kenai area.

An 11 a.m. worship service will be followed by a catered celebration luncheon at the Kenai Senior Citizens Center. Cost of the lunch is $15 per person.

Also as part of the celebration, during the entire month of April, the church on Frontage Road is hosting an exhibition of religious art, and while viewing the art objects, people's eyes are treated to the colorful stained-glass windows of the church sanctuary.

The goal of the history committee was not to list the names of all the pastors and the dates they served, said current Pastor Jon Walters, but rather to tell of the work of the church members over the years.

Of course, the customary list of "Important Events of Our First 50 Years" is available, but so are the stories told by history committee members Nedra Evenson, Ardith Arbelovsky, Joanna Hollier, Virginia Poore, Judy Buffington, Pat Robinson, Molly Jackson and Joy Ward.

For instance, about 25 or 30 years ago, some church members decided it would be a nice idea to prepare a holiday dinner for the Kenai police and fire departments.

Now, every Christmas Eve, at about 5 p.m., members take a ham, turkey and dressing, and everything else that goes with a traditional Christmas dinner, for police officers and firefighters.

"And it's not just the on-duty personnel," Evenson said.

"For many, it's become a family tradition and they bring all their kids to the station on Christmas Eve so they can enjoy part of the holiday together."

Another standing tradition of the Kenai Methodist church is its Bread Loaves for the Neighborhood program.

Begun seven years ago at the suggestion of then-Pastor Jim Doepkin, members knock on doors, hand them a fresh loaf of bread and invite them to come visit the church. A printed information handout also is furnished, according to Robinson.

"This church is an example of, 'Think globally, act locally,'" Walters said.

For more information about the church, its programs or the celebration, call 283-7868.

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