Outdoor Service Marks Anniversary Of Osceola Fire

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Osceola Presbyterian Church Pastor Brian Croak (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Osceola Presbyterian Church Pastor Brian Croak (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

CLARK – On Sunday, Sept. 22, 25 years after a fire destroyed the original church building, Osceola Presbyterian Church held an outdoor service to mark the occasion. What was a necessity on a September Sunday in 1988 became a way to celebrate resiliency and God’s faithfulness in 2013.

As cars drove by on Raritan Road, Pastor Brian Croak delivered his sermon, “Little Is Great When God Is In It.” Starting from the parable of the mustard seed found in Matthew 13: 31-35, he pointed to the original families who founded the church 70 years ago and the efforts to rebuild after the 1988 fire, as means of furthering God’s kingdom on earth.

Gary De Pasquale, founder and executive director of the International House of Prayer: Eastern Gate church located across the street, and Clark Councilman Bill Smith attended and spoke at the worship service.

Alice Dietze showed the congregation the Bible that firefighter Bill Cunningham, a church member, had saved from the Communion table on the night of the fire. In one of several echoes of the improvised worship service held the Sunday after the blaze, Dietze and the children from the congregation led the singing of the song, “I Am The Church,” which reminds that “The church is not a building, the church is not a steeple… the church is a people!”

The service closed with a benediction, with the congregation waving a blessing to the passing drivers on Raritan Road.

Osceola Presbyterian Church is located at 1689 Raritan Road in Clark. It holds Sunday worship services at 10 a.m. and Sunday School classes for all ages at 9 a.m. For more information, visit www.osceolapresbyterianchurch.org or call the church office at 908-276-5300.

Osceola Presbyterian Church held an outdoor worship service on Sunday, Sept. 22, to mark the 25th anniversary of the fire that destroyed the church building. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Osceola Presbyterian Church held an outdoor worship service on Sunday, Sept. 22, to mark the 25 years since the fire that destroyed the church building. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Osceola Presbyterian Church Pastor Brian Croak (right) yield the microphone to Gary De Pasquale, founder and executive director of the International House of Prayer: Eastern Gate church located across the street (left) (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Osceola Presbyterian Church Pastor Brian Croak (right) yields the microphone to Gary De Pasquale, founder and executive director of the International House of Prayer: Eastern Gate church located across the street (left) (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

The Osceola Presbyterian Church choir sings at the outdoor worship service on Sept. 22 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

The Osceola Presbyterian Church choir sings at the outdoor worship service on Sept. 22 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Clark Councilman Bill Smith speaks at the Osceola Presbyterian Church worship service on Sept. 22 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Clark Councilman Bill Smith speaks at the Osceola Presbyterian Church worship service on Sept. 22 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Alice Dietze (right) and the church's children lead the congregation in singing "I Am The Church," complete with hand motions for the chorus. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Alice Dietze (right) teaches the church’s children the hand motions for the chorus of  “I Am The Church,” before they led the congregation in singing the hymn. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Editor’s note: The author is a member of Osceola Presbyterian Church.


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