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Leaders, residents unite at Thanksgiving

Service reminds of daily blessings

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POSTED: November 25, 2009 11:41 a.m.
Photo by Frenchi Jones/

Members of the Fort Stewart Multi-cultural Choir prepare to serenade service attendees. Members of the Liberty County Mass Choir also performed Sunday.

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Area clergy and government officials reminded Hinesville residents Sunday night of the many blessings in their lives and stressed the importance of giving thanks all year round.
The seventh annual Mayor’s Community Thanksgiving Prayer Service at the Hinesville First United Methodist Church drew community members and leaders who gathered to celebrate the holiday and help those less fortunate.
Audience members were serenaded by the Liberty County Area Mass Choir and representatives from area churches and local government agencies took to the podium, offering words of thanks and prayers for the nation, city and members of the military.
“Soldiers are the strength of the nation, families are the strength of the soldiers and communities are the strength of the families,” said Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips, senior commander of the 3rd Infantry Division. “I am thankful for all of our soldiers. They are all our soldiers and their families are all our families.” Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway, garnered boisterous applause from the audience with his politically charged oration on the country’s resolve.
“No heartache can break our hearts in an unbreakable or irreparable manner, no violence can make us forget that we are a country of laws,” said Williams
“For we love you America … and so we stand to thank God thirstily for all that you have done for this great country of ours,” he said.
Mayor Jim Thomas used his time to talk about how Hinesville and Liberty County have been sheltered from the recent economic downturn. He said Fort Stewart’s presence has kept the city from economic damage and its residents should be looking for every opportunity to help those less fortunate.
This year’s service offerings will go toward helping the county’s homeless coalition, he said.                                                                                       
“We are truly blessed during these challenging times,” Thomas said to the audience of nearly 200.
“Let us be thankful that we live in a city that believes in giving back some of the riches that God has bestowed upon us,” he said.
But not all of Sunday night’s deliverances overflowed with joyous sentiment.  
Glenda Bradley with the House of Refuge said community members should always be mindful to give back to those in need, not just during the holidays.
“Thanksgiving is not just to give someone a turkey once a year, somebody needs turkey all year. There are people who are hungry year round, and we are a people who have more than enough … and so we ought to be able to bless people year-round,” Bradley said.
“Thanksgiving is making something happen for somebody, not just on Thanksgiving, but making something happen for somebody every day,” she continued.
Former Mayor Tom Ratcliffe, who started the city’s Thanksgiving service during his term in office, said he was pleased to see so many people gathered to pray for those less fortunate.
“It has really come a long way,” he said.
 

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