Churches in the Elizabeth community will continue a 5-year-old tradition this week by meeting together for Thanksgiving.
Elizabeth Communities of Faith formed several years ago after local churches wondered why they didn’t join together for events, especially since they are within walking distance. Now, the churches regularly celebrate Thanksgiving and the Lenten season together.
The Thanksgiving service has been held at St. Martin’s Episcopal, which first held a joint Thanksgiving celebration with Caldwell Memorial Presbyterian Church in 2008. This year’s service will be Nov. 21.
The Elizabeth churches include Hawthorne Lane United Methodist and St. John’s Baptist, and community members are invited to attend. The chaplains who work at Carolinas Medical Center-Mercy and Presbyterian Hospital (Main) also are part of the ministry.
This year, the Rev. Andrew Brown, pastor of Hawthorne Lane UMC, will deliver the sermon. The Thanksgiving church service will follow the traditional liturgy that St. Martin’s uses.
Because the churches practice open communion, all people who are baptized can take communion at the service, said the Rev. Murdock Smith, pastor of St. Martin’s Episcopal.
The teaching, hymns and Bible lessons during the service will focus on “returning thanks to God for what we have,” Smith said.
An offering collected at the service will go to Elizabeth Traditional Elementary School’s principal to help students who might be in need. Smith said many Elizabeth-area institutions – including the neighborhood itself – several schools and churches have celebrated or soon will celebrate their 100th anniversary.
“This is a significant year for lots of us, so we decided let’s just continue to celebrate that (with the offering),” Smith said.
Smith said the Elizabeth Communities of Faith gatherings have shown people that there are other congregations in the area doing comparable ministries. The Thanksgiving and Lenten services, held in the spring, are an opportunity for people in the community to be together.
We find that “we have far more in common than lots of folks think,” Smith said.
All are invited to the Elizabeth community Thanksgiving service, which will be 7 p.m. Nov. 21 at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, 1510 E. 7th St.
For more information, visit www.stmartins-charlotte.org.