Different denominations. Different races. Side by side in the pews. Sharing the pulpit.
Someone said it was surely a slight glimpse of the Kingdom to come.
The Community Thanksgiving Service was held Sunday evening, November 19, at First Baptist Church. The annual service brings together various congregations as several ministers participate.
The Rev. Arnold Hendrix, First Baptist Church, opened with welcome and prayer, followed by special music, Soli Deo Gloria, by an ensemble from FBC – Billy and Linda Farr, Alan and Susan Bell, Mandi Carter, and Mary Beth Lancaster.
Scripture reading was by the Rev. Jim Thorpe. Romans 11:33-36: Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are
His judgments and His ways past finding out! “For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor?” “Or who has first given to Him
And it shall be repaid to him?” For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.
Mary Jane Schrock, Area Coordinator with Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child, reported on the effort that affects so many children’s lives around the world.
“God has given me the privilege to do this job,” she said.
More than 4,700 boxes have been collected in this area this year. Shoeboxes go to more than 15 countries. In May, Mary Jane was invited to go to Rwanda to participate in distributions there.
Atmore Area Christian Care Ministry chairman Keith Castleberry talked about the ministry and its purpose – to be a witness of Jesus Christ. AACCM does this through the distribution of food to those in need.
“We are serving more families than ever,” he said, adding that the higher cost of groceries and a decline in donations has forced the ministry to cut back on the amount of food given to a family.
The Rev. Monroe Tucker, Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church, conducted the Responsive Reading on Thankfulness.
Following a solo, Just Stand, by the Rev. Willie Hawthorne, Greater Mt. Triumph Missionary Baptist Church, the Rev. Brennan Peacock, First United Methodist Church, brought the message.
His Scripture was Luke 17:11-19: On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they?
Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”
“Unclean!” the lepers had to call out, Rev. Peacock said. “Unclean!” to warn others to give others to keep their distance. But these lepers also called out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” And so He did. Ten were healed, but only one came to thank Him. His blessings were multiplied in that he was a leper and a Samaritan (a foreigner). And he alone came back and lay prostrate in thanksgiving before Jesus.
“Thanksgiving is more than looking at our bank books, more than all the stuff we have, what we’ve done,” Rev. Peacock said.
Gratitude comes in understanding that we don’t have what we have or do what we do under our own power.
“We didn’t pull the sun up this morning and we didn’t push it down tonight,” Rev. Peacock said. “We could do worse than laying down beside that Samaritan on a dusty road and saying thanks to Jesus.”
The Rev. Gene King, Grace Fellowship, closed with prayer, asking that “Thanksgiving be the pattern or our lives.”