Church partnerships sets Thanksgiving Celebration for Nov. 18

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 29, 2007

As the holiday seasons draw closer, many people are making lists for Santa, but for the last eight years a church partnership has focused more on giving than receiving.

The Community Thanksgiving Celebration is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 18 at Chesapeake Middle School.

More than 400 people contributed just over $2,200 last year, and event planners are hoping to see even more in attendance this year.

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“We come together and the main focus is to have a community Thanksgiving service, but all of these churches are involved with the Chesapeake Community Center,” said Larry Hamlin, a membre of the Defender United Meth-odist Church. “They have a monthly food giveaway, and every year at Christmas they give away 500 food baskets.

This worship service helps raise money to offset that cost.”

He said the event isn’t just about raising money.

“This brings everyone together — there are seven different denominations that come together, not as denominations, but as Christians, to help the needy in the community.”

The Community Mission Outreach Food Pantry helps more than 250 families every month, not just during the holidays.

Spokesman Donald Moore says participants have to fall under certain federally established financial guidelines.

“I think it’s probably the economy, and it’s a lot of older people, a couple or a single person living on social security.

And they have a lot of medical bills and the amount they get is not that much,” he said. “It’s difficult to survive, they just need the help.

There are also single people or couples with a lot of children, or out of work, there are a lot of reasons people come into the mission.”

Chesapeake United Methodist Church’s Pastor, Daryl Fourman has been involved with the Thanksgiving event for the past six years. He says the service will have two preachers, a community choir, and traditional music from some of the area’s school children.

“When we first got started there were four churches, but it’s just so big now, we realized we didn’t have a church big enough for everybody, so we started having it at the school,” he said.

Fourman said 10 groups are participating and each church is involved in planning some aspect of the event.

“It’s hopefully an event that Christians from a verity of different churches and denominations will be a part of, so it brings these people with somewhat different beliefs to come together to give thanks for all the blessings that we receive,” he said.

Getaway United Methodist, Big Branch, Chesapeake Christian, Pomaria Baptist, Defender Chapel, Burlington United Methodist, Pentecost, and Saint Ann’s churches are all contributing to the Community Thanksgiving Service.

Charles Moran, pastor at Saint Ann’s, says the service is open to everyone in the community, and isn’t about age, need or denomination, but helping one another.

“I’d like it to continue to grow, and we experience this in a community guided by the values of our Lord,” Moran said. “It is that chance for people to be kind, share, be open, a chance to be, not only considerate of others, but to be in awe of what they are as created by God.”

Moran says the churches are celebrating their beliefs, helping the needy, and following the Bible, all at once and that “…it fulfills the scripture passage of ‘Wherever two or three are gathered, I’ll be there.’”