By Doug Schroder


It’s pretty amazing that one local church has survived around here to celebrate a 175th anniversary, considering the area was just settled only about 180-or-so years ago. Somehow the church has thrived and survived during all that time.

On Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016, Seward Congregational Church, in Seward, observed their 175th anniversary of founding with a special service and potluck fellowship afterwards. The service featured testimonials from former ministers and long time members, special music by the Rockford barbershop quartet “Voicebachs”, and a special power point presentation on their last 175 years.

This homecoming-style event was open to the entire community, to share in the celebration. A special invitation was extended to anyone who has ever been involved with the Seward Church family.

The service started with a welcome from Pastor Brody, followed by the Children’s Choir singing “God Is On the Move”. A special message was then given from the Conservative Congregational Conference. After that a pastoral remembrance was given by Rev. Robert Schroeder, who was pastor of the church from 2002-2003. Following that 50-year members of the church were recognized.

Larry Roettger then gave a remembrance, followed by a power point presentation of the church’s history.

As the offertory took place the Voicebachs Quartet sang “The Lord’s Prayer”. The quartet followed that up by performing the songs “Swing Down Chariot” and “Precious Lord Take My Hand”.

Karleen Merchant then offered pastoral remembrances of Mark Tolodziecki, Karl Whiteman and Marlyn “Jake” Close.

Former Rev. Dale Bowen (1993-1995) closed the service with a pastoral remembrance and the Benediction.

Everyone then joined in singing the closing song “The Little White Church in the Vale”.

The meal after the service featured pork chops and several potluck style dishes and desserts. The Voicebachs sang a few songs before everyone began to eat.

Luckily, a lot of the history of the church has been preserved over the years ands was compiled by church member Peggy Whitney.

I was able to meet up with Peggy, as well as current Pastor David Bordy, the week before the special service and they took me on a tour of the facilities, providing me with much information about the church and how it has changed to provide community needs over the years.

Seward Congregational Church has been an integral part in the growth of the village of Seward for the past 175 years. May the church continue to be a part of the village for many more years to come. With the passing of the 175th Anniversary, it makes one wonder what changes could take place in the next 175 years for the church. That remains to be seen.