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Planning Guide

Why Do We Celebrate Our Heritage?

We celebrate because it is important to remember who we are.We want to know about our family history so that we can better understand ourselves. Without that knowledge, we are rootless and feel a longing for identity and connection. In the same way, learning about our church's history helps us understand what it means to be a member of the United Methodist family.

We celebrate so that we can honor those who went before us.We remember some women and men because they were leaders whose lives and work had a profound impact in the church and in the world. We also honor those whose circle of influence may have been small - a Sunday school class, a city neighborhood - but whose impact was no less profound.

We celebrate because there is much to learn from history.Most issues facing the church are not new; the spiritual children of John Wesley have responded to the needs of a hurting world for more than two centuries. History is full of good ideas, brave attempts, and dismal failures. Our ancestors' words and deeds are a great storehouse of wisdom and folly for our guidance.

We celebrate because history is a ministry of the church.History shows us how God's people have struggled, failed, triumphed, and endured. It records God's work in human lives and in human events. Even as we celebrate people, events, and places, we witness to the church about her high calling in Jesus Christ. We do not celebrate uncritically! Real people make real mistakes, even in the church! An honest celebration recognizes that the past was not perfect, and honors women and men who relied on God's grace to rise above their own weakness.

We celebrate because we want to tell others about our heritage. We want to tell how God in Jesus Christ has been and continues to be at work in the world and in the lives of the people called United Methodist.

This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord. Exodus 12:14a (New Revised Standard Version)

CONTENTS

Step One: Decide what and when to celebrate 
An Anniversary
Special Occasions
Annual Observances
Special Sundays approved by the General Conference

Step Two: Make it happen 
Start Early!
The Committee
Set Goals
Deadlines and Dollars
Publicize the Celebration
Summing Up