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Thanksgiving services offer time to give thanks and to help

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Shelby County’s 2 community Thanksgiving services generates donations to help those several charities – including one that aids stranded visitors.

By Todd Martin

Most families will gather hands around the dinner table on Thursday and give thanks for all they have – friends, family, food, shelter and happiness.

But what Lenny Marr said he would like to see is the entire community come together, hand-in-hand on Tuesday at 7 p.m. during the county's two Community Thanksgiving Services.

The Shelby County Ministerial Alliance will have its inter-denominational Christian service at Highland Baptist Church, 511 Mount Eden Road in Shelbyville, and another will be held at Simpsonville Christian Church, 7002 Shelbyville Road.

"We'd always like the attendance to be larger," said Marr, the ministerial alliance president. "But preachers always want a larger attendance for everything. We'll be thankful for everyone that comes."

The collection taken up will benefit several local organizations, such as Operation Care, but Marr said the majority would go to The Shelby County Transit Fund.

The fund, which is operated by the Shelby County Sheriff's Office, is designed to help those who become stranded  here.

"Part of the Christian faith is looking after the least, last and lost," Marr said. "Once we stop doing that, we stop following our beliefs. The transit fund is for those people that are right on the edge."

Marr said the Sheriff's office issues the funds because they're open 24 hours a day.

"If something happens to someone at midnight, they can help them," Marr said. "They might even be able to get them a hotel room or whatever they need."

The fund usually needs replenishing around this time of the year, especially with so many travelers preparing to hit the road for the holiday season three hundred dollars at the Simpsonville service [which is the smaller of the two]."

Marr, who's the preacher at Simpsonville United Methodist, will be delivering the sermon at the Simpsonville Christian Church service. The two churches alternate location and preachers each year.

Marr said he's not yet sure who will deliver the message at Highland Baptist.

But Allen Clark, the minister of education and music at Highland, said it will represent all local churches.

"There are usually a lot of people that come together," he said. "We try to have representatives from each church that is participating in some way. This year we're going to have someone from the Catholic church, First Christian and a few of the local Baptist churches."

The Ministerial Alliance rotates the community service through all the participating churches. Last year that service was held at Church of the Annunciation Catholic Church.

"I always enjoy this service with the other churches," Clark said. "I think the last time we hosted it was 2005."

Despite differences between the churches, Clark said it's easy for them to come together to worship.

 "It's always a meaningful service, and a fun time when we can all come together to celebrate, he said. "One thing we can all unite on is giving thanks to God for his blessings.”

Community Thanksgiving services

WHERE:Highland Baptist Church in Shelbyville and Simpsonville Christian Church.

WHEN:Tuesday at 7 p.m.

BENEFITS:The Shelby County Transit Fund to help those stranded in Shelby County.