Rockton United Methodist celebrates 150 years

The Rev. Addison Shields Jr., the Rockford District superintendent of The United Methodist Church, and soprano Nancy Shade, a former Rockton resident, are scheduled to take part in the 150th anniversary celebration of the Rockton United Methodist Church (UMC) Sunday, Oct. 16, at both the 8 and 9:30 a.m. worship services. Rev. Shields will conduct the services and Nancy Shade will provide special music, including her rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer.”

Having served the Northern Illinois Conference (NIC) for 25 years, Rev. Shields was appointed Rockford District superintendent on July 1, 2004, and brought an unusual combination of administrative and pastoral skills, in both urban and rural ministries, to his new position.

Special music for Sunday morning worship services will be provided by soprano Nancy Shade. Semiretired now and living in Utah, she was born and raised on a dairy farm south of Rockton. The daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Richard Shade, both longtime members of the Rockton UMC, she was baptized and confirmed at the Church.

During the 1970s, Shade was frequently seen on a television commercial for Memorex tape recorders, in which she demonstrated how her vocal range could shatter glass (and then how the recording of her voice could do the same). She also appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, who, knowing that she had grown up on a farm, asked her to “call the hogs.” The world-renowned soprano graciously obliged.

In addition to her vocal solos during the morning worship services, Shade will take part in the 150th Anniversary Program, a musical extravaganza in the Rockton UMC sanctuary at 1:30 p.m., which will also include performances by all the Church’s musical groups: the Chancel Choir, the Bicentennial Handbell Choir, the children’s choir, piano, a jazz combo and more. The yearlong anniversary celebration will conclude with a reception in the dining room downstairs following the program.

The worship services and program are free and open to the community. Rockton UMC is at 102 W. Chapel St., at Blackhawk Boulevard (Route 75), two blocks north of Main Street. For more info, call the church office at (815) 624-7591.

From the Oct. 12-18, 2005, issue

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