Give thanks with entire community

Published 12:05 am Sunday, November 23, 2014

The annual Community Thanksgiving Prayer Service is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Jefferson Street United Methodist Church.

The message will be delivered by Rev. Dennis Ellingburg, Morgantown Baptist Church. The music for the service will be provided by the music leader and choir of the host church.

The service has been planned by members of the Natchez-Adams County Ministerial Alliance.

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Members of the Alliance with lead parts in the service include the Rev. Nance Hixon from Grace United Methodist Church, the Rev. James Brooks from Forest Aid Church, the Rev. Grant Westbrook, the Rev. Scott Green and the Rev. Bo Swilley from Community Chapel.

To the best of my knowledge, the Ministerial Alliance has organized and sponsored a Community Thanksgiving Service since about 1970.

The purpose of the Thanksgiving Service then was to call the community together for prayer. I believe the purpose of this year’s service is essentially the same, to invite people from all walks of life, from all ethnic and racial groups, from all age groups and from all denominations in prayer.

The offering to be taken up during the service will be given to the Stewpot.

The purposes of the Ministerial Alliance are to promote fellowship and unity among all community leaders, to serve as an advocate for concerns in the community, to offer advice and counsel to individuals and groups striving for the community’s wellbeing, and to promote works of charity and prayer in the community.

Membership is open to all licensed or credentialed ministers (full or part-time), and a monthly meeting is held usually on the fourth Tuesday of each month. The officers for 2014 are: president Ellingburg, secretary Westbrook, and treasurer Hixon.

On behalf of the Ministerial Alliance, I invite the members of this community to join together in prayer. It is our opportunity to give thanks to God for the blessings we enjoy as individuals and families; it is a time to acknowledge the challenges that are before us; and finally, our efforts to build a united community can be strengthened by our praying together.

We have made progress toward unity in our community, but all of us know that we are not yet all that we know we can be.

Our community, like most communities of our size, group ourselves into socio-economic categories, racial, ethnic and denominational groups.

These groupings have much merit to them, but working together and striving for unity is the key to survival and growth in the future for our community. I am grateful for the efforts, projects and people that are working toward that end. It is my hope that the Thanksgiving Prayer Service on Tuesday will draw many people together with open hearts and minds to pray.

It is my hope that it will strengthen our resolve to continue our search for unity.


David O’Connor is pastor of St. Mary and Assumption parishes. Until two years ago, he served as an officer of the Ministerial Alliance for 10 years.