On Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015, College Church of the Nazarene University Avenue celebrated 75 years of fellow- ship and church history at their Heritage and Homecoming Sunday, an event that drew three of the four former church pastors and 1,100 people, including former church members.
The service opened with Olivet Nazarene University’s Orpheus Choir, followed by a brief message on Psalm 84:1-4 and 10-12 from former Pastor Kendall Franklin, who pastored the church from 2008 to 2013. Dr. Dan Boone, pastor from 1991 to 2005, also spoke, reading 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, followed by a few words on Matthew 16:13-19 by Dr. John Bowling, Olivet’s president and former church pastor from 1983 to 1991.
“In the summer of ’83, we were invited back [to the church], and have been here ever since,” Bowling said of his history with College Church.
College Church was first organized in 1940 and met weekly in Olivet Nazarene College’s Miller Dining Hall, according to the church’s website and bulletin. As the congregation grew, the church moved to Howe Chapel, which was the basement of the Burke Administration Building, at the time. Eventually outgrowing that location as well, College Church held its first Sunday service at its current location on Nov. 13, 1955.
Dr. Mark Quanstrom, senior pastor from 2014 to present and Olivet’s Dean of the School of Theology, presented the message, which was themed around 1 Corinthians: 3 – “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” Quanstrom spoke about passing on the faith from generation to generation. “We cannot do with [the faith] whatever we want,” he said. “We are stewards of the Christian faith we’ve inherited.”
Though Quanstrom has only recently become pastor, he recalled during the message that he has spent 60 years “in this building.” In preparation for Heritage Sunday, Quanstrom said he thought of his grandfather and his father preaching, as well as all of the students and professors who attend the church and the former pastors who came back to visit.
“I don’t know any other people who I’d rather work in church than with you,” Quanstrom said to the former pastors and current church body. “The Lord has been faithful to College Church.”
Quanstrom said he thought it was very gracious of the former pastors to come back for the weekend. “I thought it was just a wonderful service,” he said. “We had 30 years of pastors on the platform; that’s the first time all four of us have been together ever.”
Quanstrom said the 1,100 attendee turnout was shocking in comparison to their regular 600. A reception organized by Director of Fellowship Development Barbra Hartness was held in the church’s Christian Life Center (CLC) until about 2 p.m.
Hartness said the planning for the event began a year ago, and continued all the way up until the reception itself. Hartness went through archives of past church and Olivet events and set up a display in the CLC to show much of the church’s history. Church members perused the tables and looked through the new church directories, which Hartness organized, as well.
“The fellowship after [service] was really sweet,” Quanstrom said, “and I have to give a special thanks to Barb Hartness and her board of volunteers who put the reception together.”
—Taylor Provost, News Editor