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Annual BCMA Thanksgiving service slated for Tuesday

A cornucopia of worshippers from all different walks of life will soon gather under a single roof for the sake of one common goal.

The Butler County Ministerial Association will hold its annual Thanksgiving service on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. from First United Methodist Church.

Pastors from at least 15 local churches will be participating in the program, and First United Methodist Church pastor Angie Long will serve as the event’s keynote speaker.

Allen Stephenson, president of the Butler County Ministerial Association, said that a special offering will once again be taken to aid the association’s transient ministry, as well as other ministries here in Butler County.

“Since we’re on the interstate, we have people coming off of it who are in varying degrees of panic,” Stephenson said. “Some have no gas to get farther. Some are fleeing a bad situation. And in the case of an emergency like that—for instance, someone’s car has broken down and they don’t have money to stay at a hotel and get their car fixed at the same time—we may give them a night at the hotel here.

“Other people come off the interstate and don’t have food for their families, and we’re able to get them some gas and a meal to get them on their way. Of course, we don’t have a shelter here in Butler County. So what we try to do is help them to get to Montgomery, which is the closest shelter.”

Additionally, the Butler County Ministerial Association has expanded its capabilities to supplement the Butler County Department of Human Resources in direct response to a lack of funding for the latter.

The association has been called on for a secondary ministry, in which families in dire need can receive financial assistance with their utility bills. The aid is given after a vetting process with aid from the Greenville Police Department.

Last year’s Thanksgiving service collected $3,147 for use in the aforementioned ministries, exceeding all expectations in the process.

And though the offering is certainly a focal point, Stephenson said that an event that crosses all barriers, including denomination, race and gender, is very much a gift unto itself.

“With all that’s going on in the world today, there could not be a more appropriate time for us to gather together in unity,” Stephenson said.

“This is especially true at Thanksgiving when we can be thankful for the unity in our community.”