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Silverdale UMC celebrating a century of worship

Last year, Brownsville resident Helen Hinton decided to donate the colorful quilt that had been passed down in her family since her great-grandmother started it in the late 1800s. The family heirloom now hangs on a wall in the social room of Silverdale United Methodist Church.

And now the quilt is destined to find a new home. It will be raffled off at the church’s centennial celebration, marked today with a turkey dinner and program at 5:30 p.m.

Hinton, who is on the centennial celebration committee, faced grumpy family members when she first made the donation to the church.

“My husband to this day looks at me and shakes his head and says, ‘Helen, how could you do this?’” she said.

Hinton couldn’t make up her mind on which of her five children would inherit the quilt and decided the church would be the best new home for it.

But with the celebration approaching, and therefore the raffle, Hinton herself is experiencing a few twinges of sadness. Passing through the social room Wednesday morning, she stopped to feel the 1-inch squares her great-grandmother, grandmother and mother had all stitched on by hand.

“I would like to see it stay and hang in the church,” she said smiling at fellow centennial committee co-chair Ernie Shriner of Kitsap Lake.

“Well, then you better buy a ticket,” Shriner said laughing.

Church member Charlene Serra stitched 160 hours into the century-old quilt, stuffing it with new cotton filling and fastening new backing and a new border.

The quilt, which escaped two fires and survived numerous moves cross country, will be raffled to raise funds to cover the dinner celebration and other church-related projects.

Another way in which the committee decided to mark the Silverdale United Methodist anniversary is through a book gathering the history of the church and congregation. That project will not be complete until 2007, because so many people have found out and would like to be included in it, Shriner explained.

“The church is really the people, not all these buildings, so this is an emphasis to cherish the people,” he said, referring to original home of the congregation — a church in Old Town Silverdale built in 1907 — and the current location at Ridgetop Boulevard and Silverdale Way.

The book completion will thus mark a centennial anniversary of the physical church house, but the congregation first started meeting in mid-October 1905 at local schools.

For Shriner, who joined Silverdale United Methodist in 1968, it has always been about the people. He and his wife were married there and their wedding-day portrait hangs in one of the inner-rooms.

Shriner still remembers his very first day at the church. A member had put on a roast earlier that morning and invited him to dinner at his house.

“I guess that’s why I’m on the (centennial) committee,” Shriner said. “There are so many neat people stories out there.”

The book project was initiated for just that purpose — to preserve the stories of the people whose lives were touched by the church.

“It’s not the sermon so much as the loving care,” Shriner said.

In the past there were attempts at assembling historical photo albums for Silverdale United Methodist, but the stories were lacking, he explained.

“I got tired of listening to eulogies of neat people (whose story) I never really knew,” Shriner said.

Hinton shared his emphasis on the people that have made up the church. When she and her husband moved to Brownsville in 1984, they looked for a local Methodist church to join. The Silverdale United Methodist Church has been their home ever since.

Working on the centennial celebration for a year and half now, Hinton has reflected on “the determination of the people to remain steadfast in their faith ... ”

One of the things that make the church an integral part of the community, she said, is the social outreach it has been involved with — such as parenting what is now the Central Kitsap Food Bank or the 15-year “Project Heart Hat” crocheting hats for hundreds of infants at Harrison Medical Center’s maternity ward.

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