HECTOR, MN (September 17, 2013) — The 150 people attending the 125th anniversary service at Palmyra Covenant Church on Sunday far exceeded the capacity of the building, so about 60 attendees sat underneath a tent outside and watched the service on a video feed.
“It was the first multi-site service in the history of our church,” quipped pastor Steve Hoden.
People traveled from as far away as Florida, Georgia, and California to celebrate with the rural congregation that serves this community of 1,200 people. Five previous pastors came with their spouses to share how the church had helped form their own ministries.
Among them was Noel Cisneros. The church was the first congregation he served, and it also allowed him to enter the Army Reserves as a chaplain. Cisneros recently retired from military service.
Other former pastors attending were Scott Christensen, Rudy King, Tom Klasen, and Paul Peterson.
Mark Stromberg, superintendent of the Northwest Conference, spoke at the morning service. At an afternoon gathering Hoden spoke about how the church can continue to be a missional and healthy church in years to come.
People who also had attended the centennial anniversary said there was an aspect of Sunday’s celebration they liked far better—the weather. Twenty-five years ago, attendees suffered through temperatures that hit 105 degrees during the multi-day gathering. “The church didn’t have central air conditioning then,” Hoden noted.
The temperature barely hit 65 degrees on Sunday, Hoden said. “So they were loving it.”