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Waynesboro community members reach out to 'give good gifts'

November 19, 2007|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The melody of "Give Good Gifts" echoed through St. Andrew Church on Sunday evening as about 100 people took seats for the annual Community Thanksgiving Service.

Many carried plastic bags of canned and boxed foods into the service hosted by the Waynesboro Area Fellowship of Churches.

Their food offering was divided by Waynesboro Area Human Services Council and Waynesboro Welfare Association.

"We need it because we're feeding 250 people on Thanksgiving day," said Jane Birt, a member of the human services council.

Most of the food received Sunday, though, will be used to fill the 150 to 200 food boxes distributed at Christmas, she said.

Janet Brockmann, of the welfare association, said the food will be used for the regular distributions that occur every three months.

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"We just put it on our food shelves," she said.

The Waynesboro Area Fellowship of Churches has partnered with the two agencies for many years, the Rev. Lin Smalec said.

The Thanksgiving service has rotated host churches for decades, she said.

"I think this was probably one of the earliest services (the fellowship) had done, the Thanksgiving service," said Smalec, of Salem Church.

Easter and Good Friday services also are traditionally hosted by the fellowship, which unites community congregations with different backgrounds.

The Rev. Linda Watkins, who provided the message, talked about the commercialism that quickly makes the jump from Halloween to Christmas.

She said, "In the midst of all this, you've got to ask, 'What about Thanksgiving? Is Thanksgiving relevant anymore?'"

Admittedly, Thanksgiving seems old-fashioned considering the younger generations don't know about the joys of harvesting, Watkins said.

Also, giving thanks has always been a challenge when you consider that only one in 10 lepers returned to thank Jesus, she said.

"Giving thanks isn't always the most comfortable thing in the world to do. It can be embarrassing," said Watkins, of St. Mary's Episcopal Church.

It can be difficult to admit someone else is in control, she said.

"Giving thanks - especially as a family that may be undergoing stresses and strains and brokenness - might not seem to be such a good thing to do," Watkins said.

But, Watkins argued, thanks should be given today.

"I think precisely for those reasons, we need to be thanking now more than ever," she said. "(Thanksgiving) is a good day to set aside all the bad."

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