Greenbelt in 2012

A photo blog about Greenbelt, Maryland in its 75th anniversary year

Tribute Service to Dan Hamlin

with 10 comments

June 24

Pastor Dan Hamlin has led the Greenbelt Community Church for 28 years. He is retiring this year. On Sunday June 17, he gave his last sermon at the Community Church, and a week later, on June 24, the church held a special tribute service in honor of him.

Shortly after new residents moved into Greenbelt in 1937, interdenominational Protestant services were held in the Center School. This Greenbelt Community Church building at Hillside and Crescent Roads was dedicated in 1951, and the church is affiliated with the United Church of Christ.

Light fills the Community Church’s sanctuary.

The Knutson family performs “Simple Gifts.”


Processional Hymn: #4 “Simple Gifts”


‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.

Prayer of Confession

Special Music: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” Performed by Keith Johnson


Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high,
There’s a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.
Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.

Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far
Behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That’s where you’ll find me.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then, oh why can’t I?

If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can’t I?

Passing the Peace

Rev. Dan Hamlin exchanges greetings with church members.

Mark Granfors-Hunt has several announcements. He says that the new church directory is now available, and he announces the church’s annual Fourth of July picnic and luau on July 15.

Anthem: “Espana”—E. Chabrier, Performed by the Octtava Piano Duo, Hsien-Ann Meng and Wei-Der Huang


Hsien-Ann Meng embraces Pastor Hamlin after her performance.

Children’s Special Time

Hymn: #539 “Won’t You Let Me Be Your Servant?”


Will you let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you?
Pray that I might have the grace to let you be my servant, too.

We are pilgrims on a journey, we are trav’lers on the road.
We are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load.

I will hold the Christ-light for you in the night time of your fear.
I will hold my hand out to you, speak the peace you long to hear.

I will weep when you are weeping, when you laugh I’ll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow till we’ve seen this journey through.

When we sing to god in heaven, we shall find such harmony,
born of all we’ve known together of Christ’s love and agony.

Will you let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you?
Pray that I might have the grace to let you be my servant, too.

Scripture Lessons: Selected Readings from Matthew, Chapters 5-7

Special Music: “Be Now My Vision,” Performed by Jim Tilton


Be now my vision, O God of my heart;
Nothing surpasses the love you impart—
You my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, your presence my light.

Be now my wisdom, and be my true word;
Ever within me, my soul is assured;
Mother and Father, you are both to me,
Now and forever your child I will be.

Riches I need not, nor life’s empty praise,
You, my inheritance, now and always;
You and you only are first in my heart,
Great God, my treasure, may we never part.

Sovereign of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

Reflections: “A Light Goes Out…” By Jim Giese

Jim Giese was Greenbelt’s City Manager from 1962 to 1991 and a longtime member of the Community Church. He starts by saying: “Dan, this may be your one and only payback time for the many times I appeared to be sleeping during your sermons. But I won’t let it happen.” He then produces an “Over the Hill Crying Towel.”

Jim Giese hands the “Over the Hill Crying Towel” to Rev. Dan Hamlin who sits in the front row with his family.

Giese goes on to tell Hamlin’s involvement with the Greenbelt Community Church and the Greenbelt community at large. Daniel Hamlin grew up in New York’s Finger Lakes region and went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He then attended Lancaster Theological Seminary and graduated in 1977. In July 1984 he began ministering at the Greenbelt Community Church.

Hamlin has taken an active role in the Greenbelt community. He has been a member of the city’s Community Relations Advisory Board, a tutor at the Greenbelt Elementary School, a member of the Greenbelt Interfaith Leadership Association, etc.

Jim Giese displays a Community Church T-shirt on which are listed some of the charitable activities church members have taken part in, under Hamlin’s leadership: Church World Service, CROP Walk, Heifer Project, Christmas in April, Safe Haven, Plan International, Vellore Medical College, A Greater Gift SERRV, Back Bay Mission, Help By Phone, Bread For The World, and United Campus Ministries.

Jim Giese: “For 28 years, Dan Hamlin has been a bright light in our church.” He continues: “I would therefore ask of you, anyone here who believe that they are better Christians or better persons because of Daniel Hamlin’s ministry, to please stand.”

Jim Giese concludes: “I will ask you to join me in giving him three cheers, one for our past, for what he has done for us and our church, two for our wish for success in his future endeavors, and three for our further wish for a long life and good health.”



Members of the Greenbelt Community Church give their pastor Dan Hamlin a long standing ovation.

Special Music: “Friends,” Performed by Mark and Liisa Granfors-Hunt


Packing up the dreams God planted
In the fertile soil of you
Can’t believe the hopes He’s granted
Means a chapter in your life is through
But we’ll keep you close as always
It won’t even seem you’ve gone
‘Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

And friends are friends forever
If the Lord’s the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
‘Cause the welcome will not end
Though it’s hard to let you go
In the Father’s hands we know
That a lifetime’s not too long to live as friends.

With the faith and love God’s given
Springing from the hope we know
We will pray the joy you’ll live in
Is the strength that now you show

But we’ll keep you close as always
It won’t even seem you’ve gone
‘Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

There are many wet eyes.

Pastoral Prayer, Lord’s Prayer and Response

Special Music: “Lake Isle of Innisfree”

Poem by W. B. Yeats
Arranged by Eleanor Daley


I will arise and go now,
And go to Innisfree
And go to Innisfree.
And a small cabin built there,
Of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there,
A hive for the honey bee;

And live alone,
And live alone,
Alone in the bee loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there,
For peace comes dropping slow
Dropping from the veils of the morning
To where the cricket sings;

There midnight’s all a glimmer,
And noon a purple glow
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now,
For always night and day
I hear lake water lapping
With low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway,
Or on the pavements gray;

I hear it in the heart,
I hear it in the heart,
The heart’s core

The heart’s core

I hear it in the deep
heart’s core.

“Closer To The Heart,” Performed by Jan Knutson (guitar), Rick Ransom (piano, not shown), and Paula Clinedinst


And the men who hold high places
Must be the ones who start
To mould a new reality
Closer to the Heart
Closer to the Heart

The Blacksmith and the Artist
Reflect it in their art
Forge their creativity
Closer to the Heart
Closer to the Heart

Philosophers and Ploughmen
Each must know his part
To sow a new mentality
Closer to the Heart
Closer to the Heart

You can be the Captain and
I will draw the Chart
Sailing into destiny
Closer to the Heart
Closer to the Heart

Special Music: “We Are a Family”


We’re a family
We’re made for each other
A special family
We’re planted in God’s love
We’re a family
We belong together
May we always be
In our hearts and memories
Like a family

The children join in.

Everybody joins in.

Recessional Hymn: #584 “I Am the Light of the World”


I am the Light of the World
You people come and follow me.
If you follow and love, You’ll learn the mystery
Of what you were meant to do and be.

When the song of the angels is stilled.
When the star in the sky is gone.
When the kings and the shepherds have found their way home.
The work of Christmas is begun!

To find the lost and lonely one,
To heal that broken soul with love,
To feed the hungry children with warmth and good food,
To feel the earth below the sky above!

To free the prisoner from his chains,
To make the powerful care,
To rebuild the nations with strength and goodwill,
To call a man your brother everywhere.

To bring hope to every task you do,
To dance at a baby’s new birth,
To make music in an old man’s heart,
And sing to the colors of the earth!

I am the Light of the World
You people come and follow me.
If you follow and love, You’ll learn the mystery
Of what you were meant to do and be.

Two of Pastor Hamlin’s grandchildren take the light out.

Greenbelt Community Church members embrace their retiring pastor Dan Hamlin after the service.

An interim pastor will lead service at the Greenbelt Community Church until the next pastor is chosen.


Written by eric

June 28, 2012 at 8:00 am

Posted in Religion

Tagged with , ,

10 Responses

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  1. Thank you so much for this. It is such a beautiful reminder of what was a very special day to me and the many other members of GCC. I really appreciate all your effort and the hard work that went into this blog post.

    Samantha Scheff

    June 28, 2012 at 6:08 pm

  2. It looks like a beautiful service.I can even hear the music as I look through the photos! What a wonderful tribute to someone, who I think, is a really special guy. Obviously, you think so too. Love you, Dan! Vicki Trumbower

    Vicki Trumbower (Dan's sister)

    June 28, 2012 at 6:48 pm

  3. What a fantastic job of memorializing the service. Thank you so much for putting this together. It was a truly wonderful worship service.

    Mark Granfors-Hunt

    June 28, 2012 at 10:22 pm

  4. This is fantastic! Thank you so much for putting it together. It was a very special day for me, one I’ll always remember with deep gratitude.

    Daniel Hamlin

    June 29, 2012 at 7:53 am

  5. As a former neighbor of the Good Reverend Dan, I was taken back by all the love shared by the congregation that was shown to him. He was a wonderful friend and neighbor in our youthful days in Canandaigua, NY…May his retirement days be filled with all the joy and happiness he so richly deserves.

    Congratulations Reverend !!!

    Dave Monahan

    Dave Monahan

    June 29, 2012 at 9:35 am

  6. Eric, thank you for doing this since we were out of town last Sunday and I hated to miss this special service. With your photos and commentary, it was almost like being there … what incredible music we missed! Bon voyage, Dan. Marat Moore

    marat moore

    June 30, 2012 at 4:01 pm

  7. Dan, I must tell you one reason I’ll miss you in the pulpit. Many years ago in high school, an evangelical fever took the school and alienated me from the church for decades. I missed your special service because I was at a big high school reunion, and for the first time discussed this with classmates who were caught up in it at the time. What I realized is that by returning to the Community Church, it was a long-overdue reconciliation and recognition of an important part of my life. So you’re the first minister since I was about 8 years old that I really connected with. Thank you!!! Marat

    marat moore

    June 30, 2012 at 4:05 pm

  8. Thank you Eric for your beautiful, thoughtful efforts for Dan, the members of the GCC and Greenbelt. Although it was truly a bitter-sweet day for us all, the memories and happy thoughts for Dan will stay in our hearts always.

    Lynn Clinedinst

    July 2, 2012 at 11:23 am

  9. Dan, what a lovely tribute to such a kind man. I am so proud of your accomplishments, love, caring you have shared with all of us, not just at Greenbelt. Your wisdom has comfort many of us, or made us more aware of life. Thank you for all that you are, what you have given the world.

    Donna Potter

    July 10, 2012 at 7:59 pm

  10. Hey cousin Dan! I just happened upon this lovely article on your retirement. Congratulations and now maybe you will have time to come visit us here in Maine! I’d love to introduce you to our little corner of God’s world. I want to hear more of your work in E. Africa as well. Blessings! Debbi

    Debbi Hitchings

    August 14, 2012 at 12:09 pm

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