Friday, November 18, 2011

Faith Works 11-19

Faith Works 11-19-11

Jeff Gill


Communities of Thanksgiving



One of the best byproducts of the ecumenical movement of the 1960s & 70s was the development in cities and locations all over the country of "community Thanksgiving services."


I grew up with one that was always Wednesday night, rotating among churches downtown, which was (to me, at least) always exciting about getting to see the inside of churches I had never been in, and get a taste of how other traditions worshiped God.


Wednesday night always had the downside of excluding no small number of women who were, at 7 pm on Wednesday night, literally up to their elbows in a turkey. Over time, most of these have continued, but moved to the Sunday evening before. This also helps draw in the many of us who are traveling on Wednesday, over various rivers and through "Leafy Woods" subdivisions, to grandmothers' or other relatives houses. The horse may not know the way, but we have our pilgrim paths that are part of the holiday.


Licking County is no exception, with three that I can tell you about for sure, and I don't doubt there's a combined service or two out there I've not gotten definitive word about.


Down by Buckeye Lake, the Lakewood Area Ministerial Association is holding a community Thanksgiving service hosted by First Community Church there, Sunday night at 7:00 pm. Churches from Jacksontown to Hebron and along the north shore are joining together for that gathering.


The Newark Area Ministerial Association is gathering at Trinity Episcopal Church, just east of Courthouse Square, also at 7:00 pm Sunday night. Kitty Clausen & Sam Harnish have led an effort to invite folks from all around the Newark area both to participate and come worship.


They very kindly invited me to join them, but I was already helping with arrangements for the Granville Ministerium service, Sunday night at (wait for it!) 7:00 pm, hosted by the Church of St. Edward the Confessor on Newark-Granville Road. We will have readings from youth lectors out of a number of the participating churches, and John Ball, an 8th grader from the United Church of Granville has organized a shoe drive for a mission project their youth group is supporting. The shoes may be used, or if they can't benefit a wearer, they get recycled in bulk and the proceeds drill wells in developing countries around the world. So we're having a shoe offering!


Each Thanksgiving service has it's own rhythm and special offering traditions, plus that chance to see inside a different worship space, and hear other voices in both preaching and song. Often there's a combined choir singing at these services, with folks showing up early to rehearse together an anthem and lift up voices in harmony, with unity.


That is truly something to be thankful for, whenever and wherever it happens!


Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and supply preacher around central Ohio (who gets to preach tomorrow morning at Hebron Christian!); tell him what you are thankful for this year at or follow Knapsack @Twitter.