The Church of the Nazarene celebrated the denomination’s 100th anniversary last Sunday, the Ada church one of 18,000 others to join in the festivities around the world.

“In Pilot Point, 1908, several different holiness groups came together and united to make the Church of the Nazarene,” said Ada Nazarene pastor Bob Davis. “The centennial celebration marked 100 years of our denomination’s history. It’s also the earliest beginnings of our church here in Ada at the same time.”

Davis said that various holy leaders began meeting during the fall of 1908 to discuss a union of faiths under one roof. Within a year of those initial meetings, the Church of the Nazarene had come to be.

“The theme for our centennial celebration has been: ‘Out of Many, One. Out of One, Many,’” said Davis.

The theme is symbolic of both the church’s beginnings as well as its current position within the world as a major denomination of Christianity. Davis said that while often the origin of a new denomination can be traced back to some falling-out between members of an existing denomination, the beginnings of the Church of the Nazarene began the opposite way; many of the smaller holiness groups joined to become one new church. “And now, out of our one denomination, we’re about 1.6 million strong in membership of the church, in 140 different languages and 151 different world areas,” said Davis.

Davis said Nazarene churches around the world began celebrating their centennial three weeks prior to the actual date, preaching the same scripture with the same message all around the world with only minor adjustments made by individual pastors. On Oct. 5, the actual day of the centennial, a unified sermon was delivered to 18,000 congregations around the world and in 24 different time zones, Davis said. “The Lord’s Supper was being observed and participated in, baptisms, reception of new members, all of those things happening on that day in celebration of what has and been and looking forward to what God’s going to do in the next 100 years.”

The scope of the celebration was pretty overwhelming, Davis said. While he was at first somewhat resistant to being told what sermon to preach, the more he thought about it, the more he understood the undertaking. “I thought, ‘you know, this is a whole lot bigger than just me.’ I mean, think about that; 18,000 congregations, all giving basically the same message, and knowing that we’re all partaking in the Lord’s Supper, all receiving new members... It was really a neat moment of celebrating unity.”