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MANKATO — As Hilltop United Methodist Abbey in Mankato acclaimed its 150th ceremony Sunday, bedfellow preacher Bruce R. Ough commended the aggregation of 350 bodies for absorption outward, but additionally emphasized the accent of self-reflection.

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“If congregations appetite to abide basic and growing, they charge to re-purpose about every 25 years,” Ough said. “That is, they charge to footfall aback and remember, ‘What was that founding vision?’”

For Hilltop Abbey pastor Kelly McCuaig, that eyes is about activity and assurance with the association of Mankato. That agency acclamation ache through partnerships with the Backpack Aliment Program and Echo Aliment Shelf, charities that accommodate aliment to kids and adults in need. It additionally agency alteration with the times and extensive out to the aing generation, while at the aforementioned time apropos attitude and the biblical message.

At the closing of two Sunday morning services, a accumulation sings and performs acceptable Methodist songs with a avant-garde twist; the use of guitars, drums and keyboards. A applesauce bagman accompanies the choir for one song, and throughout the service, the centralized bedrock bandage crescendos to a aiguille afore crumbling into the accomplishments during communion.

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“Methodists accept been singing those (songs) for 200 years, but we aloof sang them in a new way,” McCuaig said. “We’re befitting liturgy, the alarm and response, we’re not abandoning any of that. The better about-face that we’ve fabricated aback I’ve been actuality is alms the aforementioned affluent acquaintance that Christians accept been adequate for 2000 years but alms it in a new amalgamation that feels affable to all people.”

Members of the Hilltop Methodist Abbey Choir sing acceptable lyrics set to avant-garde music during a Sunday service. Photo by Dan Greenwood

That agency the beforehand of the two Sunday casework continues to action music through acceptable hymns. The bedrock and cycle music became a allotment of backward morning casework about three years ago.

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For abbey affiliate Paulette Adams, the music — forth with the mission and relational attributes of the abbey — has kept her advancing aback for decades. Adams has been an alive affiliate of Hilltop Abbey for the accomplished 37 years.

“It’s consistently a balmy atmosphere,” Adams said. “Right now we accept a lot of families with adolescent accouchement and that’s fun to see. We’ve consistently been a missional abbey and a relational church. Bodies get to apperceive ceremony added so it feels like a big family.”

Fred Vanderwerf, the administrator for the United Methodist Abbey Southern Prairie District’s 77 churches apery southwestern Minnesota, said that Hilltop has been seeing connected advance through an adjustable and avant-garde congregation.

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“This accurate abbey is a commune arch church; it’s one of our stronger churches in the district,” Vanderwerf said. “They’re abundantly balmy bodies who tend to acceleration up to the challenge.”

For Hilltop’s congregation, that involves entering into the Missional Abbey Consultation Initiative. Aing week, clergy and lay leaders from the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Abbey will appointment Hilltop to accept to the congregation’s goals and advice body drive to serve the association best effectively.

Based on the canon of John Wesley, with English and German forms, the Methodist Abbey went through a 50-year aeon of accelerated advance as German immigrants accustomed in the high Midwest.

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“It advance like bonfire beyond America,” Vanderwerf said. “There was a time in America back one in three bodies was a Methodist. There were added Methodist churches than there were column offices. Unfortunately, we’ve bankrupt an boilerplate of one abbey a day in the aftermost six years.”

In accession to the altering the architecture of Hilltop’s services, the aggregation afresh assassin an accessory pastor to focus on academy students. Ashley Goltermann came to Mankato aftermost summer afterwards accessory seminary academy in Kentucky. A built-in Floridian, she became a Methodist through a agnate campus admiral at the Florida State University.

“It was the aboriginal association that I had anytime been a allotment of area abbey wasn’t aloof article you abounding on Sunday; it was a way of active and afflicted aggregate you did.”

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Her ambition is to appoint adolescent adults with that acquaintance in mind. At Hilltop’s 150th ceremony service, there’s a notable army of academy acceptance attending. As the abbey looks advanced to a renewed accomplishment of association account and extensive adolescent people, Ough alleged on the aggregation to bethink their roots as they attending ahead.

“This is a aggregation that for 150 years has maintained your evangelical DNA,” Ough said. “You are a aggregation that has formed on blockage focused apparent rather than annoyed and attractive alone inward. At the aforementioned time your aggregation has remained relational, you affliction for ceremony other, you acceptable others. That’s why Hilltop exists.”

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