By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer
Sunday's a big day for the Nazarenes.
More than 21,000 churches worldwide are planning to celebrate the denomination's centennial.
No matter the church, country or time zone, the celebratory sermon and video will be the same.
'It'll all be coming from the same passages and same scripture,' said Gary Hocker, pastor of the Cove Church of the Nazarene. 'It's the same theme.'
The centennial sermon is entitled 'The Church as a Holy People.' Its author is Jesse Middendorf, the general superintendent of the Nazarene church. A PowerPoint presentation accompanies the sermon, giving pastors the option to refer to animated images for emphasis.
In order to give the celebration service an identity common to all Nazarenes, the General Board of the church has also designated a centennial set of scripture readings and music selections.
The 10-minute video that will play at the centennial services is entitled 'Out of Many One, Out of One Many: The First 100 Years of the Church of the Nazarene.' It highlights the heritage, message and mission of the Nazarene church. A companion video designed for children will be available as well.
Some of the local Nazarene churches have added unique festivity to their individual celebrations of the centennial.
At the church in Copperas Cove, this afternoon will be devoted to games for children and families, and a special dinner will be served on Sunday.
In Temple, the First Church of the Nazarene launches its celebrations today with a community clean-up from 8 a.m. to noon. With help from Keep Temple Beautiful, church members will pick up trash and paint over graffiti in areas near the H-E-B on 31st Street.
Local pastors are eager to for centennial festivities to begin.
'We're proud that church has made the progress it has,' Hocker said. 'And not just in Texas but worldwide. We've become one of the largest missionary outreaches.'
Donald Boesel, pastor of Temple First Church of the Nazarene, agreed.
'Our hundred years is significant because it is a watermark, a tool to measure how we've grown. This is where we are a hundred years in,' Boesel said. 'But our sense of pride is to be Christ-like in a community so that people will come to know Christ.'
The only thing more interesting, Boesel continued, will be the state of the Nazarene church in the next hundred years.
'I'd imagine we'll keep growing in this rapidly changing culture of ours.'