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Community comes together at FUMC for holiday fellowship

It was a night of prayer and praise that served as a reminder to both count your blessings and be willing to share those blessing with those less fortunate.

The Community-Wide Thanksgiving Service drew attendees from churches across the area Tuesday night to First United Methodist Church.

Highest Praise of FUMC, the James E. Cook Mass Choir from Butler Chapel AME Zion Church, First Baptist Church’s Handbell Choir and a combined choir from area churches provided praise and worship music, with Tom Payne of FUMC leading the congregation in traditional hymns of thanksgiving.

The event, sponsored annually by the Greenville Ministerial Association, featured a number of the city’s and county’s ministers sharing through prayers, offertory appeal and responsive reading.

Rev. Steve Smith of FUMC, Rev. Lane Simmons of First Assembly of God, Rev. Felton Stewart of Greenville Church of God, Rev. Allen Stephenson of First Baptist Church of Georgiana, Rev. Tim Patton of FBC Greenville and Rev. Bob Garrard of East Greenville Baptist Church all served as participants.

The event also served as an opportunity to show appreciation to the man who has led the GMA for more than a decade.

Father Fred Lindstrom, the soon-to-be-retired rector of Saint Thomas Episcopal Church, was surprised before his message with gifts from the GMA. Patton presented him with a pictorial book on the Great Smoky Mountains, the area to which he is moving, and a lively print “retiree” shirt.

Lindstrom said he would leave the Greenville area knowing the organization was “in good hands.”

He lauded Butler County churches and their leaders for their continued commitment to reach out to the needs of those in the community as well as those in need who are traveling through it.

The offering taken up at the service will be used to fund the GMA’s Transient Ministry, which provides assistance to travelers experiencing vehicle breakdowns, illness and other unforeseen difficulties.