Looking back over 50 years at Church of the Resurrection and trying to decide upon one particular story to tell is like looking at a field of sunflowers and trying to discern the perfect one to pick. I closed my eyes to reflect - to discern what images would come forward. Different memories emerged:
- In November of 1957, as a young mother of three little ones in a one car family and, with a policeman husband who worked on Sunday, I was pleased to find that my new Concord neighbors were Episcopalian, had a station wagon, 4 children and would take us to church with them. They belonged to St. Paul's in Walnut Creek and so my kids and I went there too. When we heard that a new mission was being formed in Pleasant Hill my neighbors and I decided to give it a try. Who knew that those early services in the Pleasant Hill Bowling Alley would lead me to a 50 year commitment to a place of faith that has served me far beyond my expectations? Just a few years ago, when the bowling alley was demolished to make way for Pleasant Hill's progress, Father Bruce went with Gary Lawrence and me to say a prayer for our first worship site.
- Others will tell the story of our move from the bowling alley to the Seventh Day Adventist Church (up from us on Gregory Lane) but I remember an early Lent at our new mission property where a small white house (Hilltop House) served as a place for a weekly 6 or 7am early morning worship service. Father Richard Shackell, our mission's new Vicar, led the service and 3 or 4 of us gathered before him for communion. Outside this house was an old fig tree. For some years before the tree's removal, ever-resourceful Gary Lawrence made communion wine from its fruit.
- The construction of the building with the help of the congregation built not only a space for worship but laid the solid foundation for what has become our community of faith. Whether wielding a hammer, pouring concrete or bringing food to feed the workers, the people who helped build the church set the tone for the welcoming environment we enjoy today.
- We became a parish with Father Shackell as our first Rector. Bishop Pike often came to visit, and our congregation surprised him with our singing of the Mitchell Folk Mass - a departure from our more traditional hymns. We used this music for a few years and I'm sure that some of us would welcome hearing it again. Early on, without air-conditioning we adopted a casual dress code that is still with us today. Individuals can come to church dressed as they see fit and no one is too dressed up or down.
- Our need for Sunday school space moved us forward to the building of an education building. It became known as the pre-school building because during the week it housed our renowned Peter Pan Preschool under the direction of Theresa Rustad. On Sundays every inch of the building was used for the education of our youth. My favorite recollection is of my teen-age son Michael, the thurifer for the dedication of the building. He was afraid that he would swing the incense and hit the Bishop who had come for the dedication. Fortunately for Michael, all went well.
- Everyone who came to minister to us brought a new view and dream for our church. Our finances ebbed and flowed but we continually held a vision for a bright future. Many of our early parishioners are now gone but have been replaced again and again with new folks looking for a loving environment for worship. As I look back over the past I know that we have been truly blessed.