Mt. Sinai singers. Photo by Linda Baggett

For many years, the Big Sandy Ministerial Alliance has sponsored a community-wide Thanksgiving service. This year at First Baptist Church, one hundred forty-four came together giving thanks, singing praises to our Lord, and hearing His Word. New Beginnings Christian Fellowship pastor and Ministerial Alliance President Jerome Ellard welcomed everyone and offered an opening prayer. Beginning the evening’s program was the awesome a cappella group, “First Verse,” comprised of Andrew and Kate Kirby, Brenda Barber, and Buzz Payne. Their energetic stylings of “Down to the River and Pray” and “John, the Revelator” were just beautiful!

First Baptist Church’s Minister of Music and violinist, David Waller, and pianist, Norma Penney, offered a beautiful duet. Sonny Parsons, First Christian Church pastor, spoke of feeling blessed to live in a community where all Christians – regardless of denomination – come together to worship and by “letting our lights shine, we can be a light for others.” Dr. Jack Hetzel, pastor of First United Methodist Church, quoted 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “…in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” He then introduced his friends from Wolverhampton, England, the Harry McQuigg family.

Harry McQuigg family. Photo by Linda Baggett

John and Tiffany Lawrence, Angel Tree Coordinators, told the congregation that fifty-five Angels were on the trees located at Austin Bank and First National Bank-Big Sandy. You may take an Angel, purchase gifts, and return to the banks or you can make a donation and they will do the shopping for you. Please be a blessing to our local kids.

Beautiful Pastor Liz Elkins played the piano and her sweet mom, Yolanda, sang. These ladies are always lifting spirits with their tributes to God. Mt. Sinai singers included Johnette Pullman, Iva Strickland, Zelma Stevenson, Peggy Strickland, Princess Strickland, Dallas Heart, and Pastor Strickland. Their music is always so spirit-filled! Sit’em Down Cowboy Church pastor, Chad Lee, brought his one-of-a-kind energy, telling us that he didn’t feel well Sunday afternoon and thought he just might skip the service. However, God reminded him of Matthew 9:35, “Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every sickness and every disease among the people,” and that he should walk what he preaches.

Agape House Director, Sharon Hill. Photo by Linda Baggett

Agape House Director, Sharon Hill, said she is very grateful for the support our community has given and the recent fundraiser held at First Baptist Church raised $2,500 toward the $90,000 building fund goal. The Building Fund balance is now $17,000. As love offering was received, David Waller led the congregation in “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.”

Abigail Vaughn from New Hope Baptist Church. Photo by Linda Baggett

Representing New Hope Baptist Church, Abigail Vaughn sang a beautiful hymn. She is such a lovely young lady with a beautiful voice. Church of God pastor, Dave Havir, read a heartfelt note from a friend near the town of Sutherland Springs, Texas. He also introduced a video of two incredibly talented young children singing “You Raised Me Up.” Andy, Kate, Brenda, and Buzz – “First Verse” – closed the evening, inviting everyone to sing along to “I’ll Fly Away” and “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”

Pastor Jerome Ellard thanked Pastor Bill Weaver and the congregation of First Baptist Church for hosting the celebration of Thanksgiving. Everyone adjourned to the Fellowship Hall for a reception.