A Lego version of a church building may not seem like a great incentive, but the Burbank First United Methodist congregation went well beyond their fundraising goal for their 125th anniversary celebration.
Parish members were promised an entire church model built out of Legos if they reached their $12,500 goal for their anniversary fund. They raised $20,000.
Founded in 1884, the church’s 125th anniversary celebration today will culminate a year of festivities to celebrate the impact the parish has had in the community.
From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 700 N. Glenoaks Blvd., church organizers have invited the congregation and the surrounding community to participate in the anniversary of an institution that has been around longer than the city’s Charter.
After an opening ceremony at the church’s sanctuary with the Rev. Dr. Wayne Walters, former pastors and local dignitaries, including City Councilman Jess Talamantes, those in attendance will be led to the celebration in the church courtyard.
A large children’s area with games, karaoke, Guitar Hero, gymnastics and a rope bridge will provide entertainment options, while others will be able to take advantage of a barbecue or live local entertainment in the church’s Trevor Hall.
“This is not just about our 125th anniversary,” said John Huntley, event chairman and a parish member for 17 years. “It’s about the members of the church wanting to share with the community.”
The first church was dedicated near what is now the Burbank Empire Center. Burbank First Methodist moved to three more locations before raising the funds to move to the current Glenoaks Boulevard location in 1952.
Congregation members and other attendees will have the opportunity to view displays from the church’s 125-year history in Burbank. The parish is also hosting a silent auction of more than 60 gift baskets to benefit outreach and mission programs.
The church funds Spanish language, Pilates, dance and arts classes, as well as a nursery program.
“This is us being thankful for what we have,” Walters said. “And it makes us ask, what will this church be like in 10, 20 years?”
The majority of the events and activities are free, including photos with period costumes from the church’s productions and history to memorialize the day. Organizers expect 1,000 people to visit throughout the day.
The event is projected to cost around $1,500 thanks to sponsors and the donations to see the Lego church, allowing the majority of the money raised to be redirected to the church’s outreach programs.
“We want to share the leap of faith that it took to start this church even before the city was incorporated,” Huntley said. “We want everyone to feel like they are a part of something.”