Celebration ideas for a church's 200th anniversary

Updated April 17, 2017

A church's 200th anniversary is a special milestone worthy of celebration. Enlist the help of churchgoers and the community to mark this historic occasion with a schedule of weeklong events that reflect the church's past. Make sure to include the oldest and youngest members of your church in the activities, as these two groups can learn from each other and grow in faith while they celebrate.

Host a Theme Contest

Invite churchgoers (and perhaps the entire community) to enter a "200th Anniversary Event Theme Contest." Entrants can come up with a specific theme for the church's special anniversary, and the winner's artwork will be displayed in the church and on all marketing materials for the event. You can also formally recognise the winner at a special ceremony during the anniversary. For kids, hold a poster contest with a faith-themed prize. This will help them learn about the church's history.

Bury a Time Capsule

Construct a church time capsule and invite churchgoers to contribute special items. In a special ceremony during the week, bury the time capsule in the churchyard. The time capsule can be opened on the church anniversary 50, 100 or even 200 years later. Old and current photographs (perhaps in a photo album or scrapbook), a church bulletin, a church banner, and other meaningful items representing the church are items that are appropriate for the capsule.

Organise an Anniversary Dinner

Organise a special dinner at the church to celebrate the 200th anniversary. Have some volunteer churchgoers prepare their favourite family-tradition dishes to serve, or ask guests to contribute potluck foods. As a centrepiece for each table, place an old church photograph inside an elegant frame. Display more church photographs on poster board, or perhaps create a video slideshow. Gather the church's choir to sing some favourite hymns during dinner. One dessert option after dinner is hosting a pie contest to raise money for the church.

Get Young Children Involved

Involve young children in the special anniversary event by hosting a children's historical storytelling hour at the church. Tell the children about the founding of the church, its original construction, who has served as pastors of the church and how the church has changed over 200 years. Follow the storytelling with a church-themed, age-appropriate craft, such as gluing together simple three-dimensional models of the church. Children might also enjoy decorating church-shaped sugar cookies, made with a church- or house-shaped cookie cutter.

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About the Author

Originally from Indiana but now based in upstate New York, Lisanne Jensen has written professionally since 1988. Her journalism career includes government and features reporting for several Indiana newspapers, book editing, and marketing/graphic design. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in journalism and French from Indiana University.