Nestled in the picturesque setting of Liberty Ridge Farm, the people of Stillwater Christian Fellowship come together on Sunday mornings at 10am. We drove up to the pathway, past the corn stalks and pumpkin s, to the church where greeters were waving and smiling at us. Pastor Mike Crandall immediately came over to welcome us, , and another gentleman parked my car. And if that wasn’t enough, we were escorted to our reserved seats in the front row. The church meets in the Gifford Barn where there is a feeling of home with its large stone fireplace, encircled by 100 acres of God’s beautiful creation.
One thing I have noticed about really good restaurants is that they are always filled with the older population. Senior citizens know where to go to find really good food. I believe this to be true of churches too. This primarily “older” congregation was a sign to me that we were about to have a hearty and delicious spiritual meal! Being out in the country, I wasn’t expecting such a large gathering of saints. I spoke to a few folks before the service started, and each one was thrilled to be a part of this family.
The music portion was led by Marian Crandall on the upright piano. It was refreshing to actually hear the people singing. The powerful simplicity of the song service was refreshing. There was then a time of praise, where members could freely share how they were thankful to God. Pastor Mike followed with a few announcements and then invited me to share with the congregation about Church Journey’s. It was pleasing to see many smiles and head nods as I gave them a summary of the mandate God has given me. Then we sang one of my favorite hymns, “In the Garden”, the perfect song for such tranquil surroundings.
Prayer time was another opportunity for the church to share openly. There were many prayers for those who were sick and for those who were soon to be called home. Pastor Mike Crandall, who also serves as a Hospice Chaplain, has been given a special call to serve, love and pray for the seasoned saints. A Stillwater native, he considers himself extremely blessed to be able to preach the Good News in his hometown.
A small choir presented the song, “Lord, I’m Coming Home”, a wonderful preface to the message entitled “Home is Where the Heart Is”. Pastor Mike prayed, asking God to show His truth and to remove any distractions from the listeners. He then spoke of David, a simple shepherd boy who defeated the giant with the faith of the Lord. People praised David, but King Saul was filled with jealousy. When David flees and is in hiding, he becomes home sick. In John 17:11, Jesus prays to His Father, “ I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You.” He knew He would be going HOME soon! As a Hospice Chaplain, Pastor Mike often prays for people who are longing to go HOME. How can we call heaven our home when we have not yet seen it? Home is not a location … it is where your heart is. Our home is not on this Earth. “And I go to prepare a place for you…” John 14:3
Pastor Mike stated that many who were in the room this morning could be called home in the next 10 years. As I sat next to my parents, I wondered how much longer it would be till they were called home. I looked around the room and saw so many who were home sick, longing to be with the Lord. Then Howard, who looked to be around 85, approached the front of the congregation with hymn book in hand. He passionately sang “I’ll Fly Away” as everyone joined in. But before we fly away to go home, let’s be sure to share the peace of God with others.
Stillwater Christian Fellowship is not governed by any religious denomination or church. They have a Board of Directors whose members are elected by the congregation. An offering is not taken during the service as the seasoned saints understand giving cheerfully. There are no church membership rules or requirements. And every service concludes with a time of fellowship and food. People of various religious backgrounds have found peace and sanctuary at SCF … and so did we.
“He leads me beside still waters…” Psalm 23:2b. Yes, He does, and He is leading me back to STILLWATER Christian Fellowship. Don’t worry, I will still continue on my Church Journeys, but I have found a peaceful refuge at SCF at least once a month. After just one visit, my heart is leading me to this “HOME” in “STILLWATER”.
Church Website – www.stillwaterchristianfellowship.org
By Donna Hansen Munafo