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Churches join hands, give thanks in area service

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As families sit down for turkey dinner on Thanksgiving, they’ll express how grateful they are for their blessings.

But local churches will gather this weekend in one mass opportunity to say thanks.

Area residents are invited to worship together and show their appreciation to God at a community Thanksgiving service Sunday. People from all denominations will gather at First Baptist Church in Franklin to pray as one, asking God to continue blessing them and to look after those who are struggling this holiday season.

Participants are asked to bring a nonperishable food item such as soup, boxed dinners and canned vegetables, as well as cash donations, for the InterChurch Food Pantry.

The service will be at 7 p.m. Sunday at the church, at 201 E. Jefferson St., Franklin.

“It’s a way for people to respond physically in response for being thankful,” said Homer Ford, pastor at First Baptist Church. “We give thanks, we sing thanks, we worship. But when we give something, either monetarily or with food, it gives us a tangible way to express that thanksgiving.”

The service is sponsored by the Johnson County Ministerial Association, a group of area church leaders who work together on community issues and initiatives. The association started hosting the Thanksgiving service in 2008 in response to the flood that year that devastated so much of the county, said the Rev. Peter Jessen, pastor at First Presbyterian Church.

Churches have taken turns hosting the event ever since.

Pastors from throughout the county will participate. Each will have the opportunity to deliver a sermon, read Bible passages or take part in some other way.

The spirit of the event truly encompass what Thanksgiving should be, Ford said.

“Any ecumenical service or ministry we do together highlights that even though we have different ways of worshipping, we’re connected by Christ,” he said. “We had that commonality, but we acknowledge that we have different ways of doing that.”

All are welcome to attend.

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