By Billy Ray Warren
On March 12, 2018, the entire City of Florence will be invited to a huge birthday party, for on that day Florence (which was founded on March 12, 1818) will be 200 years old. (Don’t boast too loudly to your European friends; they might laugh and tell you that their town is 800 or 1,000 years old. However, the USA as a country is just 242 years old in 2018, so, in that regard, Florence’s 200 years are quite significant.)
At the citywide party on March 12, there will be cake and punch, a proclamation by the Mayor, a downtown parade, items placed in a time capsule, etc. And Trowbridge’s, which is 100 years old in 2018, will sell cones of ice cream on that day for five cents!
From March 12 until November 30, there will be more celebrations, with each month focusing on a separate aspect of Florence’s history. The role of the faith community (Protestant, Catholic, Jewish) in the development of Florence will be celebrated in November with a citywide event at the Shoals Theater.
Guess what! In the midst of all of these celebrations, Magnolia will, in May, 2018, mark its Silver Anniversary. On May 9, 1993, the first worship gathering of the fledgling church (with no name at the time) met in the Magnolia Room at the Holiday Inn in Sheffield. It was from the name of that big room that, later, Magnolia Church of Christ derived its name.
Twenty-five years later, we are a body of believers who love each other (and say so!) who are committed to our faith, who reach out to the community in significant ways, who give credit to the Father for our 25 years of growth, and who look to the future with surety and optimism. All of that is definitely worth celebrating!