Thursday, November 5, 2009

First Presbyterian Centennial Sermon

Centennial Sermon, III

First Presbyterian, Clairton: On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Clairton First Presbyterian Church, Rev. Robert Crilley delivered the sermon. Rev. Crilley was not the pastor of the church but one of Clairton’s sons who had heard the calling of the ministry. His sermon that June 8, 2003 morning was moving, homey, and reflective. We have published it in segments and today we post the third and final segment. Judging from the feedback we’ve received, many Clairtonians of all faiths are able to relate to his words. Read and enjoy:
Centennial Sermon conclusion:

“I’ve talked about a few Pastors who were influential in our lives. All of us, of course, could compile our own list. But how about the people?

We live in a vastly different time than when this church was founded. Back then the titans of American industry were household names----the Mellons, the Carnegies, Kaufmans.

Today we live in a time of no names--certainly not names that stick in our memories.

Who’s the current CEO of U. S. Steel? A fellow by the name of Roy G. Dorrance. Most of us have never heard of him.

But this ignorance of names extends to every area of interest.

For all you jock types, who was last season’s most valuable player in the NFL? Can you name him? Rich Gannon--QB for the Oakland Raiders. I didn’t know that. The Google search instrument told me who it was.

Who was crowned Miss America last year? Katie Harman of Oregon.

But, the point is, I just know if I asked you to name three individuals in the life of this church, who made a mark on your life, who made a difference in who you are today you could do it in a wink.
For me that would mean Mrs. Morgan and Mrs. Licht and Mrs. Wagner---all teachers of the youngest ages.

Captain & Mrs. James Hynde, would be on my list, as would be W.B. Williams, Custodian, Miss Mary Jo Hennig, Secretary, Mary Catherine Smoyer, Organist, Herbert A Wilson, Director of Music---can‘t forget them.

One of the most influential people in my life was Mr. Richard Alcorn. He taught a Sunday School Class for Junior High boys here in the forties. I was a part of his class. He taught us to love the Bible and to think of Jesus as our friend---one who walks with us and talks with us and tells us that we are His own. Mr. Alcorn made for us little leather wallets that contained Scripture passages he had us memorize---”A thousand shall fall at thy side, 10,000 at thy right hand, but it will not come near you“ Psalm 91;

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.” Psalm 103.

In Senior High school, Mr. Robert Baird, an attorney, taught me not be afraid to use my mind. And Mr. Robert Ostermeyer taught me Christian generosity, courage and a quiet humility.

And how could anybody forget Mr. Stokes leading the Sunday School in what we called back then “Opening Exercises?”

My sister Betty wrote me an e-mail about Mr. Stokes. She said, “I remember, coming home from the hospital when Don was dying of cancer. I comforted myself by singing all the songs that Mr. Stokes taught us.

In this long list of treasured people, I’d have to number my own father among the great Christian influences in my life. He was the Secretary of the Sunday School for years and years, and served as Elder for several terms as well. My sisters remember him every Sunday afternoon, sitting at the dining room table, going through the Sunday School attendance records, carefully compiling the statistics.

But can’t you feel the presence of all these saints who from their labors rest, men and women? They’re all here with us now in Jesus Christ. In our remembering, they’re here.

So, as I come to the close, let me offer my services to you. If the committee for the 125th celebration would like me to be the speaker, I volunteer to do it. I’ll do the math for you. I’ll be 93.

But, be assured, one way or another, we’ll be here!
God bless us everyone!”

A little blogging music Maestro… The hymn, “Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott” written by Martin Luther in the year 1528 and translated into English to become, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”

Dr. Forgot

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