Chester church celebrates 40th anniversary

The Lake Almanor Community Church auditorium is “standing room only” as the 40th anniversary celebration kicks off June 23. An estimated 250 to 275 people, some traveling hundreds of miles, arrived at the church for an afternoon of reunion, memories of the past, and contemplation of the future might hold. Photos by Gregg Scott

It was literally SRO at the Lake Almanor Community Church on Saturday, June 23, as members — past and present — attendees and friends gathered to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the church’s founding.

Many of the folks that came to the event had moved out of the area as far back as the early 1980s and traveled many miles to attend the event.

One former parishioner commented, “This reunion has brought a lot of memories flooding back into my mind, what happy days those were.”

An excellent memory teaser was the continuous running slide show depicting many events over the past 40 years.

One attendee noted that some of the people were a little difficult to recognize because they were so young.

Prior to singing several worship songs, Dan Foos, serving as master of ceremonies, started by taking time to explain that in days gone by the congregation actually used hymnals to read the words to the songs during worship time unlike the overhead monitors currently in place.

Many of the old-timers chuckled about how times change, but to some of the young attendees it was almost a revelation.

With 40 years of history to cover there were many memories recounted as Foos walked (no pun intended) the folks through the numerous changes in pastors, staff and facilities.

The churches first official pastor, Alan Mezger, reminisced about the warmhearted times he enjoyed in Lake Almanor as a young pastor.

He said, “The church as it stands here today represents the faithfulness of God to those that diligently seek him.”

A progression of speakers that were or are still a part of the growth and changes within the church imparted many fond and humorous memories.

Former pastor Ken Goodban was unable to attend, but spoke remotely via a recorded video.

Another highlight of the afternoon was the ladies septet that sang, “Jesus is in the House” and an a cappella rendition of “It is Well!”

Pastor Paul Bernard offered many thanks to all those folks that organized the occasion and gave an overview of some possible things to come.

He also reminded everyone that the Lake Almanor Community Church is here to serve God’s purpose in the community and welcomed everyone to come join in the worship services.

A mini-reunion of musical talent, past and present, provides one of the highlights of the day as this septet harmonizes to “Jesus is in the House” and an a cappella rendition of ”It is Well.” From left: Jan Stillwell, Beverly Zell, Cathy Rideout, Sharon Settlemire, Phyllis Wade, Holli Satterfield and Mindy Nicholson.

Admittedly, the service portion went beyond the estimated time allotted, but that simply meant the crowd was truly ready for the dinner that was prepared by members of the church.

On the menu was smoked roast baron of beef a la John Dejong, an extra cheesy variation of au gratin potatoes and a salad bar created by several of the “church ladies,” including Linda Hart, Krissy House and Barbara Howe just to name a few.

As always there were also a plethora of home-baked cookies, brownies, cupcakes and assorted other mouth-watering temptations.

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