Along with the choir’s soaring melodies, a tradition of interfaith worship will also echo through the sanctuary of Bazzel Creek Missionary Baptist Church next Tuesday evening at the traditional Community Thanksgiving Service.
Pastors from a number of area churches, and Community Choir members, who represent various faith traditions, will come together in a powerful service of praise, worship and thanksgiving.
The Reverend Latonya Agard, host pastor of this year’s event at Bazzel Creek Missionary Baptist Church, welcomes this tradition of inter-faith worship. Reverend Agard says this service is an opportunity for churches and community members to worship together. “This service is a refreshing reminder of the reality that we are all reconciled into one Body in the Lord Jesus Christ,” Reverend Agard said. “The ecumenical gathered community is a hopeful sign of God’s abundant grace still at work in the world.”
Coordinator for the Community Thanksgiving service, Willem Bodisco Massink (PCUSA), says this service is inclusive, sustaining, and necessary for the community. “The whole community of the Triune God gathers together to give thanks to the Eternal One who provides for us so splendidly,” Willem said. “This service shows that the people in Fuquay-Varina can come together because they care for neighbors in need as Christ asked them to do.”
The offering from the service will go to help those in the community with emergency needs. The Community Thanksgiving Service has been the traditional fundraiser each year for local non-profit Southern Wake Faith Community in Action (SWFCA). Formed by a coalition of local pastors and citizens in late 2006, SWFCA has helped over 1,200 Fuquay-Varina and Willow Spring residents with nearly $145,000 in emergency financial assistance for basic needs like rental and energy assistance, medications and other one-time emergencies. SWFCA is the successor to the long-time, church based volunteer program called Fuquay Family Aid.
This year’s Community Thanksgiving Service will include pastors and choir members from multiple area churches. The pastoral address at this year’s service will be delivered by the Reverend Chad Neal of Fuquay Varina Presbyterian Church.
Other pastors delivering portions of this year’s service will include: Fuquay-Varina Presbyterian Church, St. Bernadette Roman Catholic Church in Fuquay-Varina, First United Methodist Church in Fuquay-Varina, Fuquay-Varina Baptist Church, Bazzel Creek Missionary Baptist Church in Fuquay-Varina, First Baptist Church in Fuquay-Varina, New Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Fuquay-Varina, St. Augusta Missionary Baptist Church in Fuquay-Varina, New Hope Presbyterian Church in Willow Spring, and Fuquay-Varina United Methodist Church.
Chairperson of the Southern Wake Faith Community in Action (SWFCA) Board of Directors, Yvonne Daugherty, says the offering, which will go in its entirety to SWFCA, is definitely needed. “Since the downturn in the economy, many of our neighbors in the community have fallen on hard times,” Daugherty said. “Some community members have lost jobs or have had their work hours cut. Some have even lost their homes. The Community Thanksgiving Service gives us a change to come together as a faith community to help support those who are in need in true need in this area.”
Organizers of the Community Thanksgiving program say they hope this service is considered an open invitation for citizens to commune together. Pastor Reverend Agard says the entire service is uplifting and necessary. “We at Bazzel Creek are delighted to host the Community Thanksgiving Service this year. We hope that everyone in our community joins us to celebrate the goodness of God and to pool our resources to reach out to those who are in need. When we worship, God empowers us to serve. When we give, we can empower others to improve their lives.”