On Oct. 15, the Walla Walla University Church celebrated the 60th anniversary of the current church building and the many years of ministry and worship that have filled it since that first day. The day-long celebration included an array of events beginning with stories from 1962 at 10 a.m. and ending with singing in the narthex at 5:30 p.m.
In the morning, five alumni or former professors shared their memories of the 1962 march to the then new building. Carlton Cross, alumnus and professor emeritus of engineering, said, “The massive march to the new church, led by trumpeters and the choir, seemed like going to the promised land, minus, of course, the desert and the Jordan River.”
A special church service called congregation members to consider how the church has grown and changed since its opening day. A brass ensemble and ICantori of Walla Walla University filled the service with music reflective of that first day and the power of collective worship. One of the songs, a latin motet by Anton Bruckner, is often sung at church dedications and translates to, “this place was made by God, a sacred sacrament.”
After the service, members and students reassembled to listen to a panel discuss the role of the University Church and its future. The afternoon also held a particularly popular tour of sanctuary art and the organ. WWU music students led more than 200 people through a tour of the organ pipes. The tour attendees also learned about the numerous works of art created for the sanctuary from the artists themselves.
“The University Church is the nexus for our campus community,” said Andreas Beccai, senior pastor of the University Church. “It is the place we gather for worship, celebration, and inspiration. The 60th-anniversary of our building was an opportunity to trace God's faithfulness in our history and ponder his leading for our future.”