Celebrating God's Faithfulness

Two Services on the 125th Anniversary of a Congregation

In September 2015, First Christian Reformed Church of Sioux Center, Iowa, celebrated its 125th anniversary. Among other celebrations were two worship services. The first was a reminder of God’s faithfulness and who we are as his people—realities that do not change over time. In this service of celebration and dedication it was especially fitting to celebrate the Lord’s Supper as a way to look back at Christ’s saving grace and ahead to the heavenly banquet. The second service included the singing of songs from each of the hymnals used over the history of the congregation. The celebratory nature of the service was enhanced musically by the participation of choir, brass, violin, and flute.

A Service of Celebration and Dedication

We Gather for Worship


“Let All Creation’s Wonders” Cherwien, Callahan

“Hail Thee, Festival Day” arr. Michael Burkhardt


Hymn of Preparation

“Sing Praise to the Lord, You People of Grace” LUYH 7, PFAS 994

Call to Worship and Greeting

All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your faithful shall bless you.

They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom, and tell of your power,

to make known to all people your mighty deeds,

and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,

and your dominion endures throughout all generations.

— Psalm 145 (NRSV)

The Lord be with you!

And also with you.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God,

and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.


Choral Anthem

“All Ye Who Hear” arr. Mary McDonald

God Reconciles Us to Himself

Call to Confession

Assurance of Pardon

Hymn of Dedication

“Alleluia! Sing to Jesus” LUYH 831:1, 3, 4, GtG 260, PH 144, PsH 406, WR 320

God Comes to Us Through His Word

Prayer for Illumination

Reading of Scripture: Matthew 6:25–27, 31–33; 28:18–20

This is the Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God!

Sermon: “Living Out Our DNA . . . in Our Anniversary Year . . . and Always!”

Hymn of Response

“We Are Called” LUYH 296:1–3

God Comes to Us Through the Sacrament

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving


“Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts” SNC 251

Distribution of the Elements

“Gift of Finest Wheat” LUYH 815, PsH 300, WR 705

“Table of Plenty” LUYH 808, SNC 247

We Respond in Prayer and Thanksgiving

Pastoral Prayer


“Here I Am, Lord” arr. Janet Linker

Hymn of Dedication

“Let All Creation’s Wonders” LUYH 555, PFAS 973

God Sends Us into the World


Moment of Meditation


“Now Thank We All Our God” arr. Sigfrid Karg-Elert

125 Years of Worship

Gathering for Worship


“Give Us Clean Hands” (arr. Victor Labenske)

“Be Thou My Vision” (Joel Raney)

“Glorious Day” (arr. Victor Labenske)


Hymn of Preparation

“All Are Welcome” LUYH 269:1, 2, 4, 5

Call to Worship and Greeting

You who fear the Lord, praise him!

From you comes my praise in the great congregation.

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord,

and all the families of the nations shall worship before him.

For dominion belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.

—Psalm 22 (NRSV)

The Lord be with you!

And also with you.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God,

and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.


Hymn of Praise

“The Ends of All the Earth Shall Hear” (1, 4) LUYH 594, PFAS 128, PsH 542, TH 368

Singing Our History

Reader: The songs chosen for our history hymn sing entered our repertoire over the past hundred years. One song has been selected from each of our official denominational songbooks over that century: the first English translation of the Psalter in 1912, the red Psalter Hymnal of 1934, the blue Psalter Hymnal of 1957, and the gray Psalter Hymnal of 1987. Each song first appeared in the songbook noted. All have continued into the red Lift Up Your Hearts of 2013, currently in the pews.

The first song we have chosen is “Come All You People, Praise our God,” a setting of Psalm 66. It first appeared in our denomination’s repertoire in the 1912 Psalter under the heading “Personal Testimony” as #175. It came to the CRC from the United Presbyterian Board of Publication, a joint project of nine cooperating denominations that began meeting in 1895. It has been in each subsequent hymnal as numbers 126, 120, and 242, and is now #495 in Lift Up Your Hearts. We will sing the first two verses.


1912 Psalter #175, “Come, All You People, Praise Our God” LUYH 495:1, 2, PFAS 407, PsH 242

Reader: There were many songs to choose from to represent the red 1935 Psalter Hymnal because it was the first official denominational songbook to include full printings of hymns. “When Peace like a River” (#445 blue, #489 gray, #451 LUYH) and “By the Sea of Crystal” (#469 blue, #620 gray, #489 LUYH) were both introduced in the red Psalter Hymnal, but for our history hymn sing we have chosen “Beautiful Savior”—#373 in both the red book and the blue, #461 in the gray book, and #17 in Lift Up Your Hearts. It is one of a handful of songs that has not changed in text, key, or harmonization between 1935 and 2015. We will sing verses 1 and 3.


1934 red Psalter Hymnal #373, “Beautiful Savior” (1, 3) LUYH 17, PsH 461, WR 105

Reader: Synod declared the blue psalter of 1959 the “Centennial Edition” because of the hundredth anniversary of the Christian Reformed Church in 1957. The number of hymns included grew from 141 to 173. One of these new hymns was #408, “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” The text was written by Methodist minister-turned-insurance-salesman Thomas Chisholm in 1923, and he sent it to William Runyan along with several other of his poems to be set to music. It became popular when gospel singer George Beverly Shea, an associate of Billy Graham, began singing it in 1954. We find it today as #348 in Lift Up Your Hearts (#556 in the gray). We will sing verses 1 and 3.


1959 blue Psalter Hymnal #408, “Great is Thy Faithfulness” (1, 3) LUYH 348, PH 276, PsH 556, SWM 194, TH 32, WR 72, GtG 39

Reader: Our final historical selection is “Let All Things Now Living,” introduced in the much-expanded hymn section of the 1987 gray Psalter Hymnal. The gray hymnal included one setting of each psalm in the front—150 songs total—and then a collection of 490 Bible songs and hymns that included additional settings of some psalms. “Let All Things Now Living” (#453 in the gray book and #5 in Lift Up Your Hearts) is an example of a song with a descant, a musical embellishment introduced to Christian Reformed congregations with the gray hymnal. We will sing the two verses, with the descant on the second verse.


1987 gray Psalter Hymnal #453, “Let All Things Now Living” LUYH 5, GtG 37, PH 554, PsH 453, TH 125, WR 22

Reading of Psalm 145:1–6 (NRSV)

I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever.

Every day I will bless you, and praise your name forever and ever.

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable.

One generation shall laud your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.

On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.

The might of your awesome deeds shall be proclaimed, and I will declare your greatness.

Singing the Psalm

“We Will Extol You, God and King” (1, 2, 4) LUYH 562, PFAS 952

Proclaiming the Word

Prayer for Illumination

Reading of Scripture: Zechariah 2

This is the Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God!


“A Kingdom Vision Without Measuring Tapes”

Responding to the Word

Hymn of Response

“Lead On, O King Eternal” LUYH 328:1-3, GtG 269, PsH 555, TH 580, WR 508

Pastoral Prayer


“Great is Thy Faithfulness” arr. Joel Raney

Statement of Faith: God’s New People

Reader 1: In our world, where many journey alone, nameless in the bustling crowd,

Satan and his evil forces seek whom they may scatter and isolate;

but God, by his gracious choosing in Christ, gathers a new community—

those who by God’s gift put their trust in Christ.

All: In the new community all are welcome:

the homeless come home, the broken find healing, the sinner makes a new start,

the despised are esteemed, the least are honored, and the last are first.

Here the Spirit guides and grace abounds.

Reader 2: The church is the fellowship of those who confess Jesus as Lord.

She is the bride of Christ, his chosen partner, loved by Jesus and loving him:

All: delighting in his presence, seeking him in prayer— silent before the mystery of his love.

Reader 3: Our new life in Christ is celebrated and nourished

in the fellowship of congregations, where we praise God’s name,

All: hear the Word proclaimed, learn God’s ways, confess our sins,

offer our prayers and gifts, and celebrate the sacraments.

—Our World Belongs to God (34–36) © 2008, Christian Reformed Church in North America, Grand Rapids MI. crcna.org. Reprinted with permission.

Blessed and Sent to Be A Blessing

*Closing Hymn

“Build Your Kingdom Here” Rend Collective



“Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow” LUYH 964/965, PH 591/592, PsH 638, TH 731/732, WR 34/44/147


“Let All Things Now Living” arr. Sandra Zylstra

Worship Committee of First CRC, Sioux Center, Iowa
Reformed Worship 124 © June 2017, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.