Community gives thanks, praise for many blessings

Published 12:19 am Wednesday, November 23, 2011

ERIC SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Bishop Melvin Jackson Sr. speaks during the Natchez Community Thanksgiving Service, hosted by the Natchez Area Ministerial Alliance, at Trinity Episcopal Church Tuesday afternoon.

NATCHEZ— Approximately 50 people from various area churches gathered around tables in the Trinity Episcopal Church parish hall to give thanks together Tuesday.

The Natchez Area Ministerial Alliance hosted the Community Thanksgiving Service.

Service attendees enjoyed brown bag lunches in the parish hall of the church. Doug Delvecchio gave a booming rendition of “His Eye is on the Sparrow” before Bishop Melvin Jackson delivered the sermon.

ERIC SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Jeanette Warren prays during the Natchez Community Thanksgiving Service, hosted by the Natchez Area Ministeria Alliance, at Trinity Episcopal Church Tuesday afternoon.

Jackson said the service showed the community could come together regardless of denomination or race.

“By coming here today, we have crossed denominational lines, we have crossed racial lines to unite ourselves to thank God for the blessing upon us and upon our city,” he said.

Jackson said living with an attitude of gratitude is one of the most important things a person should do.

“Even when life is not up to our expectations, we are still a blessed people,” he said.

Jackson said if people are not experiencing trials and tribulations in their life, they should expect them and know they are not alone.

“God is always in control,” he said. “Faith is now. Faith is not when you’re problem is solved.

“God is in there with you, and if God is in there, God will always, always, always bring you out.”

Jackson called on service attendees to go out into the community and tell people about the community service and encourage others to join next year.

“My hope is this grows into something greater and greater and greater as the years go on,” he said.

The Rev. Walton Jones of Trinity Episcopal said it is important to be thankful as a community.

“I think it’s an important part of being thankful, being able to come together and be thankful for the things you can agree upon, especially during the season to celebrate,” he said.

Trinity Episcopal member Gayle Henry said she was thankful for everything God had blessed her with and came to the service to give thanks with the community.

“I think it’s important that we come together as a Christian community and meld together to give thanks,” she said.

Helen Smith of First Presbyterian Church said the service brought different denominations together to give praise to the God they all share.

“What we have in common is so much greater than what we do not,” she said.

The Rev. Clifton Marvel, minister of Greater Macedonia Baptist Church and incoming president of the Natchez Ministerial Alliance, said he enjoyed fellowshipping with members of different churches.

“It helps the community to give a demonstration of Godly love and loving one another,” Marvel said. “With venues like this, you get the best way to exemplify that.”

Members of the Mt. Sinai Baptist Church in Sibley led “Victory is Mine” during the service while an offering was taken up at the service for Stewpot.

Choir member Linda Gooden said community church services are an important first step in community unity.

“If the Christian community comes together first, I feel the rest of the community will follow,” she said. “This just a start.”

Louis Gunning, director of Stewpot, said he was very thankful the service’s offering went to Stewpot.

“It means a lot to know so many know the work we do,” he said. “We do really well because of people like this.”