Center Celebration service turns 10 years old Sunday

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 11, 2014

Center Celebration at St. John’s Lutheran Church will celebrate its 10th anniversary Sunday with special worship services at 9 am and 6:30 p.m.
“It’s an opportunity for us to celebrate where we’ve been, and the new season God is inviting into in contemporary worship,” says Danielle Kosanovich, diaconal minister for youth and outreach. “We’ll observe our anniversary that morning, and that afternoon, we’ll have a service of stories and songs.”
Mark Ritchie joined the Center Celebration Singers 10 years ago.
“I really align with the purpose of Center Celebration – to attract people into church who are not participating in church,” he says. “This service was designed as an outreach offering, and I wanted to be supportive.
“I enjoy contemporary music, and I wanted to be a part of the choir.”
Ritchie sees the new contemporary worship space as a tool to enhance the church’s outreach opportunities.
“What I’m thrilled about is what this new space will allow us to offer — not only to worship, but to participate in other discipling opportunities,” he says.
Carolyn Byrd has had an interest in contemporary worship, which is why she got involved with building the Center Celebration service from the ground up.
“I love the music, but one of the things that appeals to me the most is the comfort zone we make available,” she said “There’s an intimidation of walking into the sanctuary without what you feel are appropriate clothes.
“We are meeting people where they are. I’m very intentional about wearing jeans to that service.”
Contemporary worship, she says, “pulls more at my emotional heartstrings in my relationship with God.”
The process, she says, was similar to starting a mission church.
“We had the support from the congregation,” Byrd said. “We had people involved in the planning that do not attend the service, but are interested in outreach.”
Those who planned contemporary worship looked at the music, how the space would be set up, how hospitality would be offered, what the bulletins would look like, how media screens would be used, and more.
“Like any service, you can get comfortable in your routine,” Byrd says. “We’ve stirred it up a little bit.”
Like Ritchie, Byrd, says she’s thrilled with the possibilities the new worship space will offer.
“I want to make sure we maintain an intimate feel in the new space,” he said. “I think it’s gonna be awesome.”
Camille Butner was worshipping at another congregation when a friend invited her to Center Celebration.
“I loved it from the day I walked in and still love it today,” Butner says. “The community, the music the interactive style of worship – there’s really nothing I don’t love.”
Butner admits it’s hard for her to sit in a pew and be still.
“I can worship freely in the way I like to worship,” she says.
Butner says she’s excited about the new worship space and having room to grow. As a greeter, sometimes it’s a challenge for her to help everyone find a seat.
“I feel at home and I fit at Center Celebration,” she says. “It fits my style of worship.”
Lindsay Wineka was among the first worship leaders at the new service 10 years ago.
“I did it the second Sunday and kept going,” she says. “I love the way the music and the message are so beautifully combined.”
Former pastors Carl Sachtleben and Jennifer Ginn worked to create a service that was “liturgical,” but without all the names associated with traditional worship, Sachtleben says.
“Yet, the flow and parts of traditional liturgical worship were all there,” Sachtleben says. “Lots and lots of willing leadership emerged, and that continues today. The worshipping community was and is blessed.
“The service has grown in depth and sophistication, and Christ is at the center.”
Susan Shinn is communications assistant for St. John’s Lutheran Church.