*Heather has been attending HMC her entire life. The following are some of her memories, shared through an internal publication celebrating the 100 year anniversary of our church in 2001.
I remember how my little legs stuck to the highly varnished pews in the first sanctuary of this church while I listened to Pastor Bill Lehman preach. I remember Mom piling sixteen children into the car (in the era before mini vans and seatbelt laws) to drive us to Vacation Bible School during Pastor Wideman’s bus ministry. I remember writing elaborate notes to my friends while Pastor Illman begged the congregation not to leave without getting it right with God. I remember riding my horse to the outdoor evangelistic services in (what used to be) the Zellers parking lot. I remember the kissing tree – a favourite meeting spot behind the church – and I remember the high notes I never hit in the last solo I ever sang while Pastor Bill Smith led this church. I could tell you about the slightly misguided Halloween party I helped to host as youth group president while my father (dressed as a woman) greeted everyone with his shotgun at the entrance of our barn…bet you’d like to hear more about that…
If this church merely represented a lot of fond memories, it would hold a huge place in my heart.
But more than anything else, the Hanover Missionary Church has been a place for me to meet with God. My parents carried me to the altar and dedicated me to God as an infant in this church. I was taught God’s word and memorized a lot of scripture through the encouragement of Vacation Bible School, Keys to Life, Missionary Cadets and great Sunday School teachers. I chose to be baptized as a young girl in this church. When I made wrong choices or felt the blows of crushing defeat in my spiritual life I sought God’s forgiveness and listened for His voice at the altar in this church. When I was angry with God over circumstances beyond my control, He touched me, taught me to submit and spoke in miraculous ways in this church.
It’s strange how you can feel like the church is such a huge part of you and yet realize that you are such a small part of the church.
I’ve seen people I love walk through the doors of this church (and) reject the truth of God’s word or take offence over inconsequential things and leave. I’ve watched others that almost literally crawled into church as the ultimate act of humility or defeat be lifted up by the Spirit of God. It’s miraculous this church, the body of believers – so human, so fallible and yet so saved by Grace and loved by God. I feel so fortunate that the Hanover Missionary Church has been part of my life because God seems pleased to meet me here.