At 6 p.m. Sunday, seven churches will convene in Harker Heights to present a nondenominational Thanksgiving evening service open to the community.
The event, hosted this year by Trinity Baptist Church, has been taking place for more than 18 years, said Dr. David C. Morgan, the Trinity Baptist pastor. His church will provide music for the service, and Morgan will welcome the congregants with a benediction.
The Rev. David Starkey of First Assembly of God will say the opening prayer, Deacon Klaus Adam of St. Paul Chong Hasang Catholic Church will read scripture, and the Rev. John Beckling of the Harker Heights United Methodist Church will recite the Lord’s Prayer and joys and concerns.
First Baptist Church and the Korean Baptist Church also are taking part in the service.
For Morgan, the best part of the event is the offering collected.
“The proceeds go right to the Harker Heights Food Pantry,” he said. The service will be the 18th he has participated in. “It’s definitely a special occasion.”
About 200 people are expected to attend the service, said organizer Bob Dunlap.
Harker Heights Community Church’s pastor, the Rev. Philemon Brown, will present the evening’s sermon, on a topic near to his heart — rethinking gratitude.
“In our current world, it’s all about me,” he said. “I want to revisit gratitude and what motivates us to be grateful.”
Brown cited Psalms 116, which includes the following line: “What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me?”
This passage evokes concern about modern times for Brown. Despite all the benefits people have today, the practice of overcommitment has affected their communities. This causes people to overlook the many benefits God provides us, he said.
The church service is a way for the community to come together in thanks, he said.
“With the multiple deployments and what soldiers (experience), it’s important to be a community that provides a level of support,” Brown said. “We need to have the church be a strong foundational place that folks feel comfortable being a part of.”
This sentiment is important year-round, but even more so during the holidays. The churches perform a similar service at Easter. Attendees include congregants of each of the seven churches, as well as members of the public not affiliated with any specific church, Dunlap said.
The Harker Heights Food Pantry will use the collected offering to fund the rest of its Thanksgiving baskets.
“It’s a great blessing every year,” said Linda Dawson, the director of the food pantry. As of now, the organization, a project of Harker Heights’ First Baptist Church, is 20 turkeys short of its goal. Baskets will go to 160 families on Monday.