By Rev. Alicia Randolph
Parish House Director
All through Thanksgiving week, I was humming or singing the hymn "Now Thank We All our God." I have known and sung this hymn all my life, but this year it became for me more of an expression of gratitude than ever before.
This hymn, written in the 1600's by Martin Rinkart, was written as a table grace during the horrific Thirty Years War. It was a call to gratitude for all that God had done for this family even in the midst of war.
It was an expression of thanksgiving for the bounty that God had provided. It was an expression of thanksgiving for security that God had provided. It was an expression of thanksgiving for safety that this family felt even in the midst of violence around them because even more they felt the presence of God around them. And it was a call to give God thanks "with heart and hand and voices."
The past two weeks at the Parish House, as we have given out Thanksgiving meal packages through Crosslines, Inc., these words have entered my heart and mind over and over again: "Now thank we all our God with heart and hands and voices." These words seem to capture what I have felt over and over again as we gave out close to 700 turkeys and all the trimmings.
It was with their hearts that so many people came to volunteer to help us give out this extra food. It is always crazy the first week and we always need extra help. So many people that we cannot name them all felt God moving in the hearts and came to give us a hand. Some days we didn't know if we would have enough help and God brought us just enough. Some days brought us entire groups-Bible study groups, office staff at WVWC, and other groups. Other days people we have never met before came to help and said to us: "I just felt the need to help someone, so I came here."
What a blessing all of these people have been as they helped us and gave God thanks with their heart and their hands.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have heard expressions of thanksgiving over and over as people have said thank you with their voices. Many of the folks who received the turkey meals said thanks over and over. I heard expressions of thanks coming from our volunteer staff as they said kind words to people who were down because of the situations of their lives. I have heard laughter and singing from all over the Parish House. Few cross words were ever uttered.
Time and time again there were days when we ran low on everything, including turkeys. When I would express that we were running low on items, suddenly they would appear. These items came because many of you responded-not to me, but to the voice of God in your lives. We are so grateful for all of your gifts of food and money.
"Now thank we all our God with heart and hands and voices." This hymn of thanksgiving is one that can be sung in our hearts every day of the year, not just at Thanksgiving. We at Crosslines, Inc., and the Parish House are so blessed because you give so graciously. And we are able to pass along these gifts in the name of God who loves us all and longs for all of us to know what it feels like to be safe, and secure, and loved.
To God be the Glory.
On the parish calendar: Christmas Store Set-up, MondayTuesday, Dec. 23, National Guard Armory
Christmas Store Shopping, WednesdayFriday, Dec. 46, National Guard Armory
Fudge and candy sale, Friday, Dec. 6, 9 a.m.5 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7, 9 a.m.1 p.m., Chapel Hill UMC.
Pancake Breakfast, Saturday, Dec. 7, 811 a.m., First UMC. Adults, $5; children under 12, $3
Spaghetti Dinner, Saturday, Dec. 7, 37 p.m., Nay Chapel UMC. Free-will offering supports preparation for church's 100th birthday celebration in June, 2015. Nay Chapel is 9 miles east of Buckhannon on Route 151. More information at 304-472-7669 or 472-5661.
Spaghetti Dinner, Friday, Dec. 13, 4:307 p.m., Chapel Hill UMC. Fundraiser for 2014 mission trip. Cost: $10 for age 8 and up, $5 for children under 8, or a half portion
Cookies and More Walk, Saturday, Dec. 14, First UMC, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Homemade cookies, candy, breads, craft items. Proceeds benefit mission projects of UM Women.
Lessons & Carols, Sunday, Dec. 8, Wesley Chapel, WV Wesleyan College.
Community Christmas Dinner preparation, Monday, Dec. 23, 9 a.m.4 p.m..; Tuesday, Dec. 24, till noon; and Wednesday, Dec. 25, beginning at 8 a.m., Chapel Hill UMC. Help is needed at all these times.
Community Christmas Dinner, Wednesday, Dec. 25, 11 a.m.2 p.m., Chapel Hill UMC. Delivery orders will be taken by phone at number TBA.