Former Butler Chapel AME Zion Church Rev. Harold Simpson delivered the message at the Butler County Ministerial Association’s annual Thanksgiving Service Tuesday night. (Advocate Staff/Jonathan Bryant)
Former Butler Chapel AME Zion Church Rev. Harold Simpson delivered the message at the Butler County Ministerial Association’s annual Thanksgiving Service Tuesday night. (Advocate Staff/Jonathan Bryant)

Archived Story

Area churches gather for annual Thanksgiving service

Published 12:05pm Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Butler Chapel AME Zion Church served as host to a variety of denominations Tuesday night, but they were all united for one common cause — a cause that resulted in raising more than $2,000 for needy families.

The Butler County Ministerial Association extended an invitation to multiple churches in the area to come together and worship, but with the added goal of raising funds to assist those in need both in Butler County and the surrounding area.

“This is an event we’ve had for several years that gives us an opportunity to come together and thank God for his richest blessings on us,” said BCMA president Allen Stephenson. “We also take up a love offering that helps us with our ministries, such as our transient ministry.  During the last several years, we’ve been able to help countless people who are stranded in our community and are in need of gas money or food to get them to their next stop.”

BCMA treasurer Rev. Bob Garrard spoke of the fruits of the association’s labors midway through Tuesday night’s service, highlighting the 75 weather radios provided to families during inclement weather earlier this year.

“We have a lot of people in Butler County who are hurting,” Garrard said.

Thirty-eight families had received aid from the Butler County Ministerial Association to the tune of more than $3,000 worth of bills and other expenses.

In addition, Garrard added that 18 transients — those individuals trapped within the county who are on their way to another location — likewise received aid through the association.

Former Butler Chapel AME Zion Church Rev. Harold Simpson delivered the night’s Thanksgiving-centric message of sharing God’s grace with those that are less fortunate.

He likened God’s grace to a dining experience that provided the most nourishing meal of all, in the form of life, health and strength.

Simpson closed the sermon with an excerpt from a poem written by 19th century poet Julia H. Johnston, called “Grace Greater than Our Sin.”

“Marvelous grace of our loving Lord, grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!

Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured, there where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.”

“Give grace a hug when you see him,” Simpson said. “Embrace the grace, and let’s finish this race.”

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