It was a pleasant evening for those who turned out for the Moniteau County Fair Vespers Service Sunday evening, Aug. 3, at the Fairgrounds Main Arena presented by the California Ministerial Alliance. Dr. Peter Kurowski, pastor of St. Paul's Lutheran, California, welcomed the attendees and set the theme of "Faith and Freedom" for the event. He spoke of the founders of the United States and how much they were concerned about a country which would be free of tyranny of either a ruling class or a state church. The founders wanted to stay in the area of tension between the two. He said some have referred to the U.S. Constitution as the "Magna Carta of Christian liberty." Not only were the founders well versed in the Bible, they had an appreciation for the Magna Carta of 1215, which was the work of Stephen Langdon. A Hebrew and Greek scholar, Langdon was also the person who divided the Bible into chapters and verses.
Following the Pledge to the American Flag, the congregation sang "God Bless America." Beth Schoeneberg read a poem "From Bondage to Spiritual Faith" and sang "In God We Still Trust." Andrew Lovins, Pastor of the California and Salem United Church of Christ congregations, presented the opening prayer and read the Scripture Josh. 1:19., followed by congregational singing of "Faith of Our Fathers." Eric Moore, pastor of California United Methodist Church, read the Scriptures John 8:31-32. Pastor Kurowski then read the Scriptures Gal. 5:1. 13-14, 22-26.
Seth Thompson, associate pastor of New Life Christian Center, presented the message "The Cost of Freedom" based on John 8: 32, 36. He begin with the observation that the idea of "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" is the most appreciated by Americans and especially Christians. Even so, freedom has come at a tremendous price. Thompson said that the 9-11 terrorist attacks which destroyed the Twin Towers showed the "faces that hate our country because of the freedom and liberty we have." While it served as a wake-up call for many it was not the first time Americans lost their lives in the name of freedom and liberty.
About 25,000 died during the American Revolution, 625,000 - Civil War, more than 116,000 in World War I, more than 405,000 in World War II, before the many other wars and conflicts throughout American history are considered. Freedom does come at a price and others have paid for that freedom. But what do people do with the ultimate freedom given by others? True freedom that the founders knew and hoped the people would appreciate can only be found in Christ. With faith in Christ, His followers may find the intent easier to understand. When His followers asked how to pray, Jesus said "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Thompson said that following Christ on earth will provide a sample of what to expect in Heaven." The message ended with an invitation for anyone who was without a church home to speak with the ministers present.
Eddie Schoeneberg, pastor of Main Street Baptist Church and president of the California Ministerial Alliance, thanked the people on behalf of the pastors of the community for the support given, both spiritually and financially, before an offering was taken. The offering assists the organization in its work in the community. Frank Hensley, pastor of New Life Christian Center, north of California, closed the service with the Benediction.