Churches to serve Thanksgiving Day dinner

Photo by Kristen Luther
Turkeys are a welcome addition to many Thanksgiving Day celebrations, and there should be no shortage of the popular poultry for those who attend Thursday’s mid-day meal at First Christian Church.

By Greg Miller
star staff
  More than 70 volunteers and 16 churches are planning to serve a Thanksgiving dinner, including all the trimmings, to hundreds of local residents on Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  Participating churches include First Christian Church where the meal will be served, at 513 Hattie Ave., Freedom Fellowship, First Assembly of God, the Church of God of Prophecy, Believers Family Church, Johnson City Seventh Day Adventist Church, Valley Forge Church of God, Brown's Chapel AME Zion Church, Roan Street Church of God, Rittertown Baptist Church, Sinking Creek Baptist Church, Borderview Christian Church, Valley Forge Christian Church, Valley Forge Free Will Baptist Church, Valley Forge United Methodist Church, and Prayer Tabernacle.
  The Rev. Marvin Slagle, pastor of the Church of God of Prophecy, is anticipating that 400 to 500 meals will be served during the Churches Reaching Out in Love Community Thanksgiving Dinner, including an estimated 100 to 200 meals that will be delivered to the homes of local residents.
  Although the Rev. Israel Ochoa, the new pastor of Prayer Tabernacle, will be out of town, members of that congregation are helping with the meal. They are "looking forward to being able to help..." said Ochoa. "They are excited to be an extension of God in this community."
  Two members of Prayer Tabernacle will serve as volunteers during the meal. Several are planning to prepare turkeys and desserts for the occasion.
  Ochoa noted the importance of churches uniting to serve God by helping local residents. "Together we can meet the need of the community," he said.
  "When we announced this opportunity to minister to people in our community, we had several respond with enthusiasm," said the Rev. Randy Johnson, pastor of Valley Forge Free Will Baptist Church. "Many of them had been on mission trips or served the community in other ministries and knew this, too, would be a great blessing. It's great to live in an area where churches do more than just 'talk the talk' and actually serve together. ... We all have so much to be thankful for."
  Sacred Harmony will be among groups providing entertainment for the occasion. Larey Pippin of Sacred Harmony recalls being involved with feeding the homeless and singing for them several years ago when he was in Florida. "It's a humbling experience," he said. "My heart goes out for them."
  Mark Odom of Sacred Harmony asked the Tennessee Melody Boys to participate. "We're glad to do it," said Lawrence Boone of The Tennessee Melody Boys. "We do lots of benefits. God's given us a talent to use and it's something that we enjoy."
  Tammy Odom will also sing during the event.
  To have a meal delivered, call 547-0564. For more information, call 542-4602.