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Residents give thanks together at local church
First United Methodist hosts event
111512 THANKSGIVING SERVICE
Church leaders and members from various local churches sing hymns as the First United Methodist Church plays host to the first Community Thanksgiving Service Thursday. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

Several area churches joined hands Thursday for a Community Thanksgiving Service at Statesboro First United Methodist Church.
Dr. Bill Perry, the pastor emeritus of Statesboro First Baptist Church, delivered the Thanksgiving message as a sense of unity and peace filled the sanctuary.
“Much of what we learn about life is from children,” he began, showing a humorous side. He spoke of a young boy who, when asked for what he is thankful, replied “My glasses. Girls won’t kiss me and boys won’t hit me.”
On a serious note however, Perry expressed the importance of giving thanks.
“It is a good, good thing to give thanks,” he said,. “Why? Well, God commands it.
“Give thanks in all situations. No matter how bad the situation, give thanks. He instructs us to give thanks,” he said. “When you can express thanks, that is something you express in your heart that is wholesome and godly.”
Even people with less than most can find something for which to be thankful, he said.
“See how God carries us through hard times and still gives us gratitude and good times. We have so much (for which) to be thankful – for what God has done for us. Giving thanks can overcome a lot of life’s harshness and give us great joy.”
The community event involved representation from a variety of churches in Bulloch County. Dr. James Stephens, of St. Matthew Catholic Church, welcomed guests. Statesboro First Baptist Church’s senior pastor, the Rev. Jimmy Cason, gave the invocation.
St. Matthew Catholic Church Father Brett Brannen read Scripture, and the Rev. James Byrd Sr., the pastor of St. Andrews Chapel Church, offered a prayer of Thanksgiving.
The Rev. Tom Osborne, of Friendship Baptist Church, also read Scripture, and the Rev. Dan Lewis, the senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church, gave the benediction.
An offering was taken, and money collected will be given to the Hearts and Hands Clinic, which serves Bulloch County residents without insurance and other resources. The clinic is manned by local doctors and dentists who offer services free of charge to those unable to afford them.
Stephens said the plan is for the Community Thanksgiving Service to become an annual event. Next year, First Baptist Church will host the service.

Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

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