South Charlotte

Church gives thanks with community meal

Hickory Grove Baptist Church's two main campuses will celebrate Thanksgiving with the community.

The churches' annual Thanksgiving dinner and service have become community traditions as church members and people from the community spend the Tuesday before Thanksgiving sharing a traditional meal and worshiping together.

"In America, this is a great time to be thankful," said Matt Phipps, Hickory Grove pastor of creative communication ministry. "We are blessed in America, but the person we need to go back to, to say, 'thank you' is Jesus for what he's done in our lives."

Hickory Grove regularly hosts Wednesday night meals and community services, but every year it moves the event to Tuesday during Thanksgiving week.

The church will serve a traditional Thanksgiving meal that will include sliced turkey, sweet potato casserole and mashed potatoes. The meal will be served on the main Hickory Grove campus on Hickory Grove Road. Hickory Grove's north campus is at 2350 Odell School Road, Charlotte.

Phipps said the meal is served in the churches' gyms around round tables, a set-up that makes conversation easy.

"It's a great time together," he said. "People just hang out and enjoy the company."

The community worship services begin at 6:30 p.m. Phipps said the music and sermon are focused on giving thanks and on the communion, which Christian believers in the congregation are invited to participate in during the service.

Phipps said the communion itself is a time of remembering and giving thanks.

"We remember what Christ did for us," he said. "We're thankful that his blood was shed and his body was broken. We feel like it's perfect that during this time of thanksgiving, our first thanksgiving goes to our lord Jesus Christ."

The meals and services are open to the community. Child care is available during the services for infants through age 4. The worship service will last about an hour.