Landstown Community Church, Virginia Beach, celebrated its 30th Anniversary September 25-26.
On September 14, 1980, a group of about thirty persons gathered in a room above a warehouse in Chesapeake, VA and Upper Room Chapel was born. Seven years later, URC moved to a plot of ground on the corner of Dam Neck Rd. and Monet Dr. in Virginia Beach and the name was changed to Lands-town Community Church.
The Saturday celebration consisted of a family day. A large tent was donated by the VA Beach Sheriff’s Office along with tables and chairs. Several of LCC’s men had worked hard in preparing two state of the art horseshoe courts. A volleyball net was donated and a Sea World Moonwalk was provided for the kids, along with sno-cones and sweet tea.
Picture board remembrances and photo albums had been prepared and much time was shared in looking at pictures of families and past events that were significant in the life of the church. There was laughter and probably a few tears were shed as well.
About 100 people shared in a barbecue meal catered by Zook’s Barbecue in VA Beach. Several families who had moved away or had moved on over the years returned for a time of fellowship which was concluded with an outdoor praise and worship service led by the LCC Worship Team.
The Sunday morning Celebration service began at 10 AM with a dance to Martha Munizzi’s “Glorious.” The theme of the service was the Faithfulness of God and He demonstrated that over and over to the more than 100 people who participated.
The former pastors had been invited to participate in this special service to honor leaders. Found-ing pastor Harold Buckwalter started things off by sharing highlights such as baptisms and baby dedica-tions and the text and theme for the first message preached on Sept. 14, 1980 from Ephesians 4: “We are all one body with differing gifts.”
A letter of greeting was read from Antonio Ulloa who served a six month interim pastorate in 1987. Pastor Noah Stoltzfus passed away in January 2008. His son Daniel was invited to stand in for his father but was unable to attend. Jim Southerland shared some thoughts on Noah’s humility, his humanity, and his humor. Noah served as pastor from 1987 to 1999.
Following Noah’s departure, the elders provided pastoral leadership for about a year and then Sam Scaggs served as interim pastor for a year from 2000 to 2001. Sam was also unable to attend the service, so a letter of greeting was read, which emphasized the importance of the relationships established during the Scaggs’ time at LCC.
Merlin and Linda Miller began attending at LCC while Sam was pastor and when Sam moved on, Merlin was asked to serve as pastor. Merlin shared that during his almost six years as pastor, the relation-ships established were also very significant. Missions was emphasized throughout the service as missions has been a significant part of LCC life from the very beginning.
Pastor Marlin concluded the time of sharing by expressing gratitude for those who have gone before and by reminding the church of its mission to “Love God, love people, and make disciples.” Gerry Miller read a summary of missions over the thirty years of LCC experience. Pastor Marlin also emphas-ized the need for young persons to be trained to be leaders and encouraged the development of small groups for spiritual growth as well as leadership development. He also pointed out the need for churches to work together in our communities to demonstrate the power of the gospel to change peoples’ lives.
To conclude the service, Pastor Marlin invited Pastor Harold and Pastor Merlin to come forward along with all those who had served as elders over the years and offered a prayer of blessing over them and their families for all the sacrifice that they had made to serve the church and the Lord.
Close to 100 people concluded this time of celebration by sharing in a meal of “leftovers” from the Saturday evening barbecue. Joy was evident throughout and words of gratitude were shared for all that went into making this special celebration possible.