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Annual BCMA Thanksgiving service raises more than $3,000

Tommy Ryan leads a choir in song during the Butler County Ministerial Association’s Community Thanksgiving Service at First Baptist Church Tuesday evening.

Tommy Ryan leads a choir in song during the Butler County Ministerial Association’s Community Thanksgiving Service at First Baptist Church Tuesday evening.

First Baptist Church of Greenville served as host to a variety of church bodies and denominations Tuesday night united under the umbrella of a single cause—helping those in need.

The Butler County Ministerial Association (BCMA) was able to collect an offering  for those in need, both within the community and beyond.

The BCMA extended an invitation to multiple churches in the area to come together for worship and also to reflect on the blessings bestowed throughout the year, but also as a means to extend those blessings to those less fortunate.

BCMA president Allen Stephenson said that in his many years of serving in the ministerial association, Tuesday night’s gathering may have been one of the most significant.

“ I just think it’s one of the best things we do as a community,” Stephenson said.

“We come together to be thankful for all of the blessings that God has given us.  And it’s an event that attracts people from all walks of life, all denominations, all ethnicities. If there’s any time of the year that we should be thankful, it’s this time, but we should be thankful every day, but this is a way that we can express our thankfulness.”

The theme was drawn from Psalm 107:1, which reads “Give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.”

But thanks was hardly the only thing given Tuesday night, as an offering of $3,147 exceeded all expectations.

Stephenson added that the offerings are given to the association’s three ongoing programs, which include the Transient Assistance, Emergency Assistance and Disaster Relief funds.

BCMA member Rev. Bob Garrard said that the association has helped 42 transients—those individuals trapped within the county due to limited resources—received aid this year.

Eleven families were also provided for this year courtesy of the Emergency Assistance program.

“It’s about helping those who find themselves stranded in our community, or maybe they’re residents here who have had difficulty paying their power bill or water bill, and we try to help with all of those things, as well as disaster relief,” Stephenson said. “And we’ve been able to help communities who were hit like ours was with Hurricane Ivan.

“We also have purchased weather radios for the elderly and had some distributed to various adult day care centers. The people of Butler County are very, very generous.  Our community should be thankful that people do care about one another.”

Dene McCoy of McKenzie Baptist Church served as guest speaker for the event.  As per the Butler County Ministerial Association’s tradition, the newest pastor in the organization is given the task of headlining the event.

Ultimately, Stephenson said that 2016 marked another success for the BCMA’s efforts, though there remains a great deal of work to be done.

“We were exceedingly pleased with the turnout,” Stephenson said. “It was one of the best attended ones we’ve had.

“There certainly is a need.  DHR has had their funds cut so drastically.  They used to meet a lot of the needs, and now the community has to try to step up and help with that.  Hopefully, our programs can help with that.”