HARKER HEIGHTS — “Rethinking gratitude” was the central message at the annual Harker Heights Community Thanksgiving Service at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday night where congregants from six Harker Heights churches gathered to worship, fellowship and give thanks.
The service was open to the public and joined members and pastors from Trinity Baptist Church, First Assembly of God, Harker Heights Community Church, Crossway Korean Baptist Church, St. Paul Chong Hasang Catholic Church, United Methodist Church and First Baptist Church.
Each year the location of the Thanksgiving service rotates between participating churches. Organizers meet beforehand to discuss key roles and to set a general protocol for the service, said event organizer Bob Dunlap.
Rev. Philemon Brown of Community Church delivered this year’s sermon, which focused on the need to be grateful for Jesus Christ’s salvation and to counter the culture that is not appreciative of it.
“It’s good for believers of all races and ethnicities to come together under the banner of Christianity and I think if the world is going to change, it’s going to start with us,” Brown said. “We’ve got a world with some really messed up stuff and if we can’t get it together, what hope is there for our community?”
Pastor David Morgan of Trinity Baptist agreed with the message.
“There needs to be a concerted effort on the part of churches and Christians to make sure the world sees their faith and sees that it’s a unifying factor,” he said.
The cross-denominational service is a way to bring the community together to reinforce a sense of spirit and togetherness, said Deacon Simon Flores of First Assembly of God, who gave the opening prayer.
“We may operate differently but the key parts are the same,” he said. “We all love the Lord and that’s really all that matters.”
Stormy weather did not deter worshipers from attending the service, which was almost packed. Trinity Baptist member Martha Retz was there as she has been every year since the service began.
“I look forward to the fellowship and the inspiration we get from the service,” she said. “I believe every day we have to evaluate where we are and where we’re going and it makes you grateful for what you have and who you are.”
Guest Sandra Green said the event is a good reminder to stop and think of the source of all blessings — the Lord.
“All of us are coming together and drawing strength from each other while worshipping the Lord and it brings us closer,” she said.
In a world full of partisanships and disagreements, the event allows believers to know that churches and Christians can still get along and work together, Morgan said.