Annual Nixa Community Thanksgiving Service Promotes Kinship
With Thanksgiving less than a week away, many are preparing for the food and family. The Nixa Ministerial Alliance is busy too, preparing for its annual Community Thanksgiving Service.
Gary Swearengin, senior pastor at Nixa Church of the Nazarene and co-founder of the Nixa Ministerial Alliance, believes the event offers the community a sense of cohesion.
“My hope is that it offers the opportunity to see that while we have diversity in our congregations, that we are unified in that we serve one God and it’s to Him that we give thanks,” explains Swearengin.
The Nixa Ministerial Alliance was founded in the late 1980s by Swearengin and other community pastors, including Donny Blansit of Nixa Assemblies of God, Joe Fahl of Calvary Bible, and Richard Aikens of First Baptist.
Swearengin says roughly a year after the alliance got its start it began offering the Community Thanksgiving Service.
For the purpose of bringing together congregations, "That are normally in their own places of worship, and they’re neighbors in the community but sometimes when we go to church we are committed to our own congregations and so we don’t mix as a body of Christ. So we wanted our community to be united and to see a united front with the churches,” says Swearengin.
Last year around 300 individuals from various congregations took part. The gathering also includes performances by the Nixa High School and community choirs.
“We appreciate Jason Honeycutt, the director (of the Nixa High School choir), and those kids for coming out and being a part, because it is a community service and we feel like the school is a good way to tie the community in,” notes Swearengin.
This years’ service will be hosted by Aldersgate United Methodist Church and takes place Tuesday November 22nd at 7pm. There will be music, prayers, scripture, and a chance to give back to the community.
“One of the things that happens at Thanksgiving Community Service is we receive an offering, and 100 percent of that offering is divided between a percentage going to Least of These, which is the food and clothing pantry in the community, and then a portion is retained in our account to serve transient needs,” explains Swearengin.