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40 Years Together

Kirkwood Presbyterian celebrates anniversary with service, time capsule burial.

Kirkwood Presbyterian Church marked its 40th anniversary on Sunday, April 22, with the second of two celebratory services. Not only was the anniversary the subject of celebration but it also marked the completion of renovation and a time capsule re-interment.

The Springfield church’s first anniversary service took place March 5, 2006 to commemorate the actual 40th anniversary of the first time the congregation met.

Church members Max Schindler, Joan Reynolds, Matthew Albin, Linda Warren and Deanna Johnson served as the 40th anniversary planning committee. Several congregation charter members also aided in the planning, including Wallace Benham; Dr. Ron and Mrs. Anne Cooke; and Rev. Larry Lees.

"My role was basically to oversee and guide the committee," said Lees, who recently having started his fifth year at Kirkwood,

The committee was in charge of planning the recent Sunday events as well as removal of the cornerstone, placement of new items in the capsule and the event that took place last year at Garfield Elementary School where the first congregation met 40 years ago.

"We [the committee] hoped that this service and the cornerstone ceremony afterwards would give our congregation a chance to look back at how much we’ve grown as a church family," said Johnson, "to appreciate what a wonderful new building and welcoming congregation we have now and to dream and plan a bit for what our future will be."

WHEN REMOVING the cornerstone in Spring 2006, several 1960 newspaper clippings, copies of the first worship service and copy of the charter of the congregation were discovered.

"We also have careful consideration to what would be included for those who will open the time capsule on Kirkwood’s 75th anniversary," said Johnson. Several items were added to the capsule such as a CD of photos of the church and members, keychains of the wood that came from old pews that were removed, sermons, bulletins and messages written by children.

"It will be interesting to see what technology will be available at the time," said Lees. "For example, will paper still be used?"

To commemorate the event, church organist Kelly Ker Hackleman wrote a special hymn entitled "In This House."

The completion of the renovation was also a key part of the special event at Kirkwood. Planning the renovation began in 2000 but work started in January 2006 and ended in mid-November 2006. Two new offices, a new front entrance and an expansion to the adult educational facilities were added to Kirkwood Presbyterian Church.

One unfortunate victim of the renovation was an old cherry tree nicknamed "Big Louie," which had to be reviewed.

John Hirsch, a member of the congregation, used wood from "Big Louie" and some old pews to produce a new cross for the communion table.

The Sunday 40th anniversary celebration ended with the re-interment of the time capsule and a small lunch. "We are looking forward to the promise that lies ahead for the congregation and we plan to continue to reach out to the Springfield community," said Lees.

"Kirkwood is always open and caring during the hard times, such as the service we held in conjunction last week with Westwood Baptist right after the Virginia Tech shootings," said Johnson. "But this congregation also truly enjoys each other’s company when celebrating the good times such as last Sunday’s anniversary events."