Mike Garber Named Minister Emeritus
The Rev. Michael J. Garber will be confirmed as Minister Emeritus of the Community Congregational Church United Church of Christ in a ceremony during the 11 a.m. worship service on March 18. This special lifetime honor is bestowed upon retired ministers who have served a church for a long period of time with distinction.
Garber served as senior pastor of the Community Congregational Church for 26 years, from 19762002, the longest pastorate in the church's 112-year history. A graduate of Eden Theological Seminary, he began his ministry at the First Congregational Church of Bloomfield in New York where he served for 10 years prior to coming to Southern Pines.
Garber arrived during the year of our country's Bicentennial celebration, creating an opportunity for him to initiate a July 4 Patriotic Service as part of the celebration. During the service, he delivered his original piece, "I Am the Flag," which was so impressive that it became an annual event each July.
During his ministry, new programs were initiated and old ones revived. The music ministry became an outstanding asset in the life of the church and community outreach programs grew. Two important events in the history of the church were celebrated during his tenure, bringing excitement and deeper involvement by the membership.
In 1977 the church celebrated the 50th anniversary of the present sanctuary that was erected in 1927. Eighteen years later, in 1995, the church celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding. As a result the church grew under Garber's leadership.
Garber's involvement also extended into the community. He served on the Red Cross and Food Bank Boards and chaired the Sandhills Mental Health Board. The Community Congregational Church was also one of the 12 churches which founded the Sandhills Coalition for Human Care in 1986.
"The community is invited to join us on Sunday, March 18, at 11 a.m. as we honor the Rev. Michael Garber," says a spokesman. "A reception will follow the worship service."
The Community Congregational Church is located at 141 North Bennett St. in Southern Pines. For further information contact 692-8468 or visit the Web site at www.communitycongregational.org.
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