Royal Oak celebrates a century of faith

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. —Psalm 100:5, NIV

The Royal Oak Citadel, Mich., Corps praised God for His goodness and faithfulness for generations as they recently celebrated the corps’100th anniversary.

For many months the planning committee focused on creating a celebration that provided space for fellowship, remembrance, outreach and, most importantly, praise to the One who has made it all possible, Jesus Christ.

The weekend kicked off with a birthday party on Friday night. People from near and far gathered around campfires to share memories and catch up. As music played, people hugged, laughed, shed tears and ate plenty of desserts. The connections made between those who’ve attended the corps for decades and those who are new brought a warmth greater than the delicious, homemade hot chocolate being served.

Saturday brimmed with activity, starting with a Stuff the Bus event. The SAL Community Center has been known for decades for serving children and families throughout the year. People were invited to stop by the community center bus, fondly called “Big Blue,” and donate to the food pantry or Angel Tree program. Those who stopped by to drop off a donation enjoyed a treat from the canteen.

In the evening, many people attended the anniversary dinner, “A Taste of ROC.” They visited stations to sample classic recipes from corps members through the years and could be heard saying, “Tasting this food is bringing back memories.” Guests were encouraged to peruse pictures on the walls, a massive Lego replica of the front of the chapel, and other displays in the corps’ hallways.

The dinner led beautifully into the anniversary concert. People packed the chapel and cheered as the Royal Oak Senior Band and Songsters entered and began the concert, “Remembering the Past, Embracing the Present, and Inspiring the Future.” The concert also highlighted some junior music groups. As the Singing Company and Cherubs sang the classic, “I am a Promise,” audience members sang along: “And I am learning to hear God’s voice, and I am trying to make the right choice. I am a promise to be anything God wants me to be.” How beautiful that the call to know God and to live in His love remains the same.

Captain Kory Strand, Royal Oak corps officer, gave a devotional, saying: “Throughout all of the generations that have come in the past 100 years one thing remains the same— everything changes. Really, the only true constant in all of this change is Jesus Christ. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

The concert closed with a segment focused on Psalm 95 which culminated with a presentation of Paul Lovatt- Cooper’s major work, Fire in the Blood. God’s presence was unmistakable as corps officer Captain Heidi Strand closed in prayer, sharing a lyric from one of the band piece’s themes: “Lord of love, make us strong–we who to Christ belong.”

“I belong to a beautiful church family, and I am so very thankful for that,” she concluded. “But most importantly, I belong to Jesus Christ. If you have not experienced that belonging, tonight is the perfect time to start.”

After the concert concluded, the crowd remained for quite some time, not wanting the evening to end.

Sunday began with a united Sunday school breakfast. The junior band led worship, and everyone engaged in a game where the youngest to the oldest moved throughout the room in a flurry in response to conversation starters.

In the worship service Lt. Colonels Steve and Chris Merritt, Great Lakes divisional leaders, welcomed the congregation: “It is wonderful to be in the house of the Lord. We praise Him for the work that He has done, the work He continues to do, and the work by faith He will do in the future among us.”

The congregation was challenged to look ahead, to remain faithful in these days of chaos and change, and to fix their eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.

See more photos of the events below.




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