Living Lord Lutheran Church kicked off its 50-year celebration in July with former members who have become ordained ministers returning to the church to share their memories.
The theme of the celebration is "Created for You: In God's Hands."
The anniversary kickoff was held July 13 and included a social, escorted tour of the Draime Legacy Gardens in Howland, lunch and music by the group Rew!nd, a Christian youth praise band from Toledo.
Barbara Wright, an event coordinator, said the plans for the 50th anniversary celebration include various events to be held throughout the year leading up to the final event in January.
The official 50-year church charter day is set for Jan. 12, 2014.
Pastor Bill Leitch said he has received numerous emails and letters from former members about the anniversary who remember the activities held at the church, outreach to the community, singing in the choir and growing up in the church as a lifelong member.
"It's wonderful to see people who were raised in this faith community here come back," Leitch said
Pastor Bill Michaels, a former member and currently a pastor in Tallmadge, said, "Everything I really needed to know, I learned here at Living Lord Lutheran Church."
Michaels joined the church when he was in ninth grade and said then church pastor, Paul Fuchs, was the one who inspired him to be a minister.
"It's an honor to be back at the church for its 50th anniversary. The church I lead in Tallmadge also celebrated an anniversary. It's a thrill to be back," he said.
Michaels said the church gave him an opportunity to be a leader and a pastor.
Pastor Beth Giller, who grew up in the church and now leads St. Mark Lutheran Church in Toledo, was accompanied by the church's Rew!nd youth praise musical group which includes college and high school students.
"It's nice to be back. This church shaped me in my worship," Giller said noting that Fuchs also influenced her decision to become a minister.
"As a minister, the purpose of worship is to always make us aware if God's presence. We are in God's hands in the past, the present and will be in the future," Giller said.
Leitch said this is his first call as a minister serving for the past three years at Living Lord Lutheran Church.
He said the original church congregation began worshipping at Howland Middle School in 1963.
In November and December, Living Lord members have created needle point. During six Sundays worship services a remembrance letter will be read from each of our previous/present pastors.
On Jan. 12 will be on off-site banquet luncheon.
Rew!nd formed in the fall of 2008 when four youth from St. Mark Lutheran Church came together with the idea of using their musical skills to give praise to the Lord and share the message of Jesus with others. They have ministered at numerous events including leading worship services, county fairs, concerts and conferences.