Wildermere Beach Congregational Church


January 27, 2019

“What’s old is new again” rather sums up WBCC in 2018. When paneling was removed as the Sanctuary rejuvenation project began, an amazing discovery was made! Underneath the paneling installed 50 or so years ago was some beautiful wainscot boards. It turns out wainscot was very popular in construction in the 1890s when the Sanctuary was built.

The decision was made to refurbish instead of to cover it with new material. This turned out to look very good albeit all the hard work required to make it look presentable. The nearly finished work includes a fresh coat of paint on the wall above the wainscot, chair railing, new window trim and doors making the 1895 Sanctuary look “lighter and brighter.”

“What’s old is new again” could also be applied to the new sign in front of the church. This sign is not only larger but two sided allowing a view by folks passing up or down Broadway.

We have had numerous new friends attending services in 2018. We added three new members (see Clerks report for names) but are hopeful to see the official number joining the church increase in 2019. Another prospective member class will soon begin.

Attendance at worship services averaged 47, an increase from 42 in 2017. Wednesday night Bible Study continues to grow in enthusiasm and participation. Attendance ranges from 12 to 17.

Concerning other statistics -- I conducted 24 funerals (3 at WBCC – 1 member 2 friends),

officiated 1 wedding and baptized/dedicated 3 infants.

Glancing ahead to 2019, there are three areas I would like viewed as priorities:

1. Worship – and everything associated therewith.

2. Fellowship – enhanced relationships among members and friends.

3. Outreach and Evangelism - Evangelist Steve Wingfield will be guest speaker at Pizza night, Friday, March 15th and preach in the Sunday, March 17th Worship Service. Steve is a very gifted speaker and my longtime friend from our college years at Eastern Mennonite University. His ministry includes “Victory Weekends” which are held at NASCAR races. I encourage you to prayerfully consider who to invite to attend these 2 special opportunities where the Gospel will be shared.

Debra and I are looking forward to God’s continued blessings as we enter our 7th year of pastoral ministry at WBCC – and the Church’s 124th year of service to the Lord and our community here on the west shore of Milford.

Submitted by Rev. L. Kenneth Fellenbaum

January 21, 2018

“Out with the old, in with the new!” “Something old, something new…” These are two familiar sayings. The latter has to do with what bride’s wear/carry at weddings, the former is associated with the arrival of a New Year. What do they have to do with the Pastor’s Annual Report?

Of these traditional sayings, I much prefer the “something old, something new” when it comes to church leadership. A lot of Pastors, upon arriving at a new charge immediately implement many new things and change what was previously done.

Upon learning that I was called to my first Pastorate, I asked an older more experience Pastor friend for a word of advice. He said, “Ken, don’t upset the apple cart.” I have always remembered that in my call to former and present churches (just 3). There are usually good reasons why something was done in a particular way at the time. Situations and times do

change – and that provides the opportunity to assess, reevaluate what to keep and what to change.

In the past 6 years here at WBCC we have done that. As a result, we have continued ministry and worship following a pattern developed over our history going back to 1895. We have made some changes, here and there but have pretty much “kept the course.”

On most Sundays, there are only a handful of folks in attendance who were present 6 years ago when I was called to succeed Pastor John Thursby. One of the things I am most proud of is how the “new” people have been welcomed by the “old” and how we have grown together and moved forward. Being respectful of tradition but also open to doing things a little differently. I believe this approach has served us well and will continue to guide us in 2018.

For the second year in a row we have added 10 new members (see clerk’s report for their names). In addition to the worship services and weekly Bible Study, the events sponsored by our Church have continued our tradition of being a “community church.” This is also seen in our hosting the Neighborhood Association’s meetings, several AA groups and Fellowship Hall rentals.

As we enter our 123rd year of ministry, I would encourage us to “keep on keeping on.” The one area I would like to see added emphasis placed upon is the attracting and retaining of younger adults and families. If we are going to be here for future decades then we must reach and enfold younger people while we retain and care for the older and more seasoned generation.

The Apostle Paul gave this instruction to Titus – his son in the ministry, “Let the older teach the younger” (Titus 2:4) – good words of advice!

My Pastoral responsibilities continue to be: preaching and teaching the Word, prayer, visitation, counseling, priestly duties (weddings, funerals, etc.), being a member of the Church Council, serving as a resource to Committees and Community Outreach.

As for numbers, I conducted 20 funerals, officiated 2 weddings (participated in a 3rd), and performed 1 christening. Attendance of the Sunday Worship services was 42 (down slightly from 45) Attendance at the Wednesday Bible Study reached a high of 17 several times but generally averaged about 12. I look forward to continuing to serve as your Pastor and anticipate further spiritual and numerical growth as we enter 2018.

Submitted by Rev. L. Kenneth Fellenbaum