News-Sun photo by BRIANA WASHINGTON The sun peeked through under the clouds just as it began to set Wednesday, beaming a bright light into the Centennial Community Church Service at the Jack Stroup Center for just a minute or two. It was the only sunshine of the day in Sebring.
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published: Friday, October 19, 2012
Unity, legacy are themes of church service
By ROMONA WASHINGTON
SEBRING - The crowd was sparse, but the messages strong at the Centennial Community Church Service on Wednesday evening. The weather was a bit threatening, so the crowd moved inside to the Jack Stroup Center to hear inspirational music by the Baptist Church of Lake Josephine Praise and Worship Team and Joe Lewis, as well as the messages delivered by Wings of Faith Pastor Robert Shannon, The Salvation Army's Major Bruce Stefanik, and First United Methodist Church Pastor A.C. Bryant.
Unity, legacy, love and compassion resonated through the messages delivered by the various pastors.
Allen Altvater opened the service with other members of the First Baptist Church of Lake Josephine Praise and Worship Team. Between songs he said the crowd gathered "to celebrate how blessed we are to be living in the best place in the state." He encouraged everyone to think about the people God has given to us and taken away. He remembered Centennial Committee member Sandia Wehenkel, who passed away in June. He also reminded guests about Saturday's dedication of Kenilworth Boulevard to one of Sebring's favorite sons, Major Tommy McGuire.
Shannon told the crowd that it's important to understand that legacy has to do with unity. One cannot make that transition without unity and "the only way to have a legacy is to harvest yourself."
Everyone who was at the service was there "to celebrate God, who brought us here together in unity."
Unity, he said, helps us to recognize the differences in each other. "Unity applauds the greatness in each of us. Love has a propensity to forget the negative things and promote the positive things."
As he closed, Shannon pointed to Lake Jackson and said, "I couldn't swim out there until I was 14. I had to swim at Dinner Lake. Let's all pray for unity." Shannon, a black pastor, referenced a time in his childhood when he and his friends were not allowed to swim at Lake Jackson because of their color.
Bryant carried the message of love a little further. He said the Scripture is clear what love really is. "Love is not a feeling; it's a demonstration," he said as he quoted I Corinthian 14:3-8.
He told guests how a young Nancy Heacock would spend summers in North Carolina where she met a young George Hensley.
George eventually visited Sebring and Nancy just to discover that "her heart would never leave Sebring. Today he is our mayor. God works in us to do a job. ... This city is what it is because of the men and women who God has willed to do not what they wanted it to be, but what God wants it to be."
The Centennial Celebration continues today and Saturday with the Blessing of the Business Luncheon at noon today, a Luau and Beach Party at City Pier at 7 p.m. and on Saturday the Sebring Chamber Major Thomas McGuire 5K at Highlands Hammock State Park at 7:30 a.m., the Sebring Historical Society lunch at noon, the Dedication of the Major Tommy McGuire Boulevard at 3 p.m. at the Sebring Regional Airport and the Grand Finale Birthday Bash at Lakeshore Mall at 5 p.m.
For more information on Centennial events, visit www.sebring100.com.
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