1. A group of churches unite for various activities
The Rev. Claude Williams said more than 20 churches are part of United in Action of Stanley Churches, Inc. The organization, he said, has been in existence in some way for 40 years, but it became assembled around 2010. The goal is to “spread the Good News” in an ecumenical way through community initiatives. Williams said it’s all part of acting as one God and one faith, and all are invited. “If you are a member of the church, part of the community, not a member of a church, new to the community or just curious – every person is welcome to each and every assembly,” he said.
2. The service has multiple components
First Presbyterian Church is the host of this year’s Thanksgiving Community Service event, though it changes annually. Among those participating are ministers, pastors and laity from the various churches as well as the Stanley Community Choir, Stanley Children’s Choir, senior ministers and community civic leaders. Following the service there will be light refreshments so attendees have the opportunity to fellowship.
3. Attendees can give back
There are several ways to support the community during the Thanksgiving service. The offering for the worship service will be used to support the King’s Daughters Ministry, which offers help, counseling, education and life skills for women 18-30 who may be homeless, battered or recovering from substance abuse. People are also asked to bring toys for boys and girls and youth coats to donate as part of the warm coat project, which ends Dec. 14. Both the jackets and toys will benefit identified students in need at Springfield Elementary. Those coming to the Thanksgiving service are also asked to bring jars of peanut butter and jelly to support Guardian ad litem of Gaston County.
4. The event sets up the next community gathering
Following Tuesday’s service and before the fellowship, Williams said there will be a drawing for where pastors will preach during the Community Pulpit Exchange that will take place Jan. 27, 2019. “Ministers from throughout the United in Action family will draw from a cap … and draw assignments for where they will be preaching at each other’s pulpits,” Williams said. “It’s traditionally the last Sunday in January.” Other major events hosted by the group are tent revivals with well-known preachers and music.