'And Grace Shall Lead Us': Guilford Community church celebrates its history

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GUILFORD — The Guilford Community Church, United Church of Christ, has been commemorating the 250th anniversary of its founding in 1767 in many ways this year, and this will reach a climax of sorts on Saturday when it releases an up-dated history of the church "And Grace Shall Lead Us - A History of the Guilford Community Church, UCC, 1998-2017."

The event will be celebrated with a book release and a "Crankie Musical Theater Spectacular" on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Guilford Community Church, 38 Church Drive.

"And Grace Shall Lead Us" will be unveiled and available for sale. All are welcome, admission is free, donations gratefully accepted. The book is actually a sequel to the earlier history of the Guilford Church, written by Larrimore Crockett, "Safe Thus Far." Both titles were inspired by a line from "Amazing Grace," "'tis grace has led me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home."

"Safe Thus Far" was published in 1999, and covered, in 470 pages, the entire history of the church from 1767 to the time of its publication, which followed the retirement and subsequent sudden death of Rev. Shirley Crockett, whose ministry had resulted in a significant growth of the church. "And Grace Shall Lead Us," at 120 pages, has been authored by several members of the church guided by a steering committee. It picks up the story with the somewhat tumultuous years around the turn of the century, and continues it through subsequent changes, upheavals and achievements — all under the leadership of its current and much-beloved pastor, Rev. Dr. Lise Sparrow — to the present time.

The evening will open with a musical history of the Guilford Community Church, including tunes from the corresponding era with lyrics written to illustrate something of historical note during each ministers' tenure.

A "Crankie" is a long scroll in a box frame, and one has been made to illustrate a few parts of the church's history. Guilford Church singers and musicians will be participating in the program and those listening will be invited to join in a chorus or two. The musical portion of the program will be followed by readings from the just-published "And Grace Will Lead Us," a reception and book signings.

For more information, call the Guilford Community Church at 802-257-0994.

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