2024 marks the 200th anniversary of the founding of our church. There are not many organizations, institutions, even countries that can say they have existed for this long. Now naturally none of us were present when our church was founded, but we are all no doubt glad to be a part of this history and to represent the present life of this community.
It was on September 6, 1824 when “the inhabitants of the Village of Amber, and the adjacent parts” met to “form ourselves into a body to be known and distinguished by the name of the Amber Religious Society.” They also resolved at that meeting to “build in the Village of Amber, a Free Meeting House for the true worship of God.” It is the intention of the leadership that we observe our anniversary all year long, and we will be planning a few special days of commemoration, celebration, and worship remembrance.
But as we begin the year we want to first of all identify ourselves again, not just historically but biblically. For although the Amber Church still meets in its original building we do not identify the church as a building, but as our forefathers stated, the building is merely a “meeting house,” a place for church people to gather and to worship God. Biblically, the word “church” is never used to describe a building. Instead it is exclusively used to refer to people, the people who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, and are assembling together to seek to live out their faith with the support and accountability of others who share their belief and commitment. The Bible records that simple church confession which was first spoken by the Apostle Peter, who said to Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). And to this Jesus responded, “On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18). We continue to make this profession and bind ourselves to Jesus and to one another. We call this our church covenant and whenever someone joins our church community we ask them to commit themselves to it. These are the words that we say to God and to one another:
Covenant of New Member
I do this day affirm the true and living God, the
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to be my God. I
promise to walk with Him, as my only Lord,
according to His blessed will. I will seek God in
all His holy ordinances according to the rules of
the gospel, submitting to His government in the
Amber Congregational Church.
Reaffirmation of the Congregation
We also this day reaffirm our faith and promise
to walk together in brotherly love and mutual
concern in the fellowship of this Church, building
up one another by our attendance, our prayers, and
by working with our fellow members to promote
the spiritual, financial and physical growth of
All this we promise to perform, the Lord helping
us, through grace and strength from Jesus Christ to
whom be glory, honor and praise, now and
May this New Year be a special one for us all as we both celebrate the past and look forward to the future. In the present we are
“To be God’s people in this place,
live His goodness, share His grace,
Proclaim God’s mercy through His Son,
be His love to everyone.”1
See you in Worship.
1 “To Be God’s People,” Charles F. Brown, copyright 1974, Word Music (1063753).