The holidays are a time to bring the community together for fellowship. Every year on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, members of the Liberty County and Fort Stewart communities of faith gather at one of the churches in the area. The annual gathering, called the Mayor’s Thanksgiving Service, brings leaders and church goers together in the spirit of thanksgiving for a service of songs, prayer and gratitude.
This is the ninth year for the service, which initially started under Mayor Thomas Ratcliffe in 2002.
The 2011 program will be at 6 p.m. today at the Main Post Chapel on Fort Stewart. Each year, more and more people from the community attend the celebration, which is a collaborative effort between the mayor’s office and the United Ministerial Alliance.
Members of the Liberty County Area Mass Choir, the Hinesville Community Collaboration Choir and the Fort Stewart Multi-Cultural Choir will provide music for the program. The Liberty County Area Mass Choir will be directed by Donna Pearson.
The theme for the year’s program is “A Thankful Homecoming.” With the many deployments the troops of the 3rd Infantry Division and Fort Stewart have undertaken in recent years, the community certainly is thankful for their service and for their safe return, especially now that many of them are home for the holidays.
County officials and pastors from the community and Fort Stewart are scheduled to speak at the program. Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas will offer words of encouragement for the community. Maj. Gen. Robert B. Abrams, 3rd Infantry Division commanding general, also is slated to speak. Pastor Tommy Crutchfield of Life United Pentecostal Church will deliver a spiritual message. State Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway, and Sen. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, will deliver words of hope for the state and the nation, and Pastor Larry Murray Fellowship of Love will round out the line of guest speakers. Other local pastors and elected officials also will say prayers and read scriptures during the program.
The evening’s offering will be given to the Liberty County Homeless Coalition, which works collaboratively with other local public service agencies to provide temporary shelter, rental and utility payment assistance to those in need.
A reception will be held in the Main Post Chapel’s activity room immediately following the program.
Anderson is the author of “Lack of Knowledge” and “Dare to Soar.”