On this year's Double Ninth Festival which appreciates the elderly, Shishi Church of China's southeastern-coastal Fujian Province held a thanksgiving service for the senior over 70 years old.
The church made preparations for this service in advance. On the early morning of last Sunday which the Chinese traditional festival fell on, the elderly believers also eagerly looked forward to it, coming to the second floor of the church. Wearing neat clothes, they greeted with each other and gave thanks for the Lord's protection. They took pictures with the serving staff after having red flowers pinned on them.
At 9 am, the elderly sat in the middle two rows of the sanctuary, and the service began with the hymn, "Holy Trinity". Hosted by Deacon Cai Meiya, Pastor Su Shue preached and the united choir sang the hymn, “Respecting the Elderly".
Four hundred and eighty people attended, and more than 80 were over the age of 70. Based on Ephesians 6:1-4, Pastor Su shared a sermon, encouraging the younger generation to follow the teachings from the Bible of respecting and loving their elders. He encouraged the elderly to live for the Lord with gratitude, to take the burdens of their family and pass them on to the next generation, to do good deeds for outsiders but ask for nothing, and to bless others.
Pastor Huang Daoming delivered a speech on behalf of the church. In his speech, he encouraged the congregation to fear God, show filial respect to parents, and enrich their life needs. He also congratulated the elderly on their health and longevity and wished that the Lord’s love would always be with them. And later he prayed for the food that they shared.
Then Elder Cai Zili made a wish on behalf of the elders and cut the cake that was provided. The elders and deacons distributed the carefully prepared gifts to the elderly who were filled with joy.
At 10:30 when the service was over, Pastor Huang led the pastors and elders to bless the elderly and the congregation.
At lunch time, the church arranged a dinner for the elderly, and elder Cai Zili made a toast.
-Translated by Abigail Wu