Cornelius Presbyterian Church has spent 2009 celebrating its 100th birthday.
It held a week of events in April, the church's birthday month, including opening the cornerstone time capsule, attending church in early-1900s-style clothes and surprising former pastor Didi Wayland and his wife, Jane, by naming a building after them.
Now the church is ending its celebrations and looking forward to the next 100 years.
In early December, a contractor resealed and replaced the cornerstone, set to be opened in 2109. They photographed and replaced the items they found in it, including an old copy of The Charlotte Observer, a book of church governance and a Bible. They brainstormed about what they could include for future generations.
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"We tried to think of all kinds of things we could put in it," said the Rev. Carl Dumford, who has been pastor for two years. "We had a lot of fun."
They added a recent newspaper, pictures of the centennial celebration and a DVD recording of a worship service, with an explanation of what a DVD is. They considered a DVD player but realized the right batteries might not be available in 2109.
The church also has celebrated this month with a special Christmas ornament designed by member Pam Robinette. The red globe features an image of the church with the commemorative dates.
The small congregation has big plans for its future.
Members are talking about building a new fellowship hall mainly to use for community programs. They started a weekend bluegrass festival that drew more than 800 people over five weeks.
They took over a house next door, turning it into a classroom and a place for hospitality. They will sing Christmas carols in the new Wayland Christian Discipleship Center at 6 tonight.
On Christmas Eve, worship will start with a musical prelude at 7 p.m., then the service from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Dumford said he won't preach but will be one of several people reading Scripture throughout the service.
The congregation will sing Christmas carols, and the choir will sing anthems. Finally, the lights will dim and congregants will light candles and sing "Silent Night" accompanied by Davidson guitarist David Olson.
The service is open to the community. Children are invited to bring any type of bell to ring during a designated part of the service.
For details, visit www.corneliuspcusa.org. The church is at 21209 Catawba Ave., Cornelius.