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Alabama-Crenshaw churches use feast for outreach, missionscomment (0)

November 29, 2007

By Brian Blackwell

Southern Baptists have long been known for their love of food and fellowship.

Recently 225 Alabama Baptists gathered to carve the turkey and pass the pumpkin pie, but for very different reasons.

Hosted by South Luverne Baptist Church, Luverne, the Thanksgiving gathering raised money for missions causes in Crenshaw County and served as an outreach event to the community.

About $417 was raised during a missions offering that was collected during the event.

The money will be used to support such missions causes in the county as assisting the homeless or financially needy families.

“We’re hoping this event focused people’s attention on missions and the need to share the gospel with their neighbors,” said Don Yancey, director of missions for Alabama-Crenshaw Baptist Association.

“We need to stir in people’s hearts a burden to proclaim the good news about Christ both locally and around the world. And it all starts at home, with something like our Thanksgiving celebration.”

Yancey reported that while the affair drew mostly Southern Baptist churches, he believes churches from other denominations will attend in 2008.

“We hope to get other churches from other denominations involved because we don’t want this to be just for Baptists,” Yancey explained. “What we plan to do is to help provide the leadership and then let other denominations host it. The fact is we have so much to be thankful for and we want the churches in the community to be a part of this next year.”

In addition to the traditional Thanksgiving meal and missions offering, pastors from three Alabama-Crenshaw Baptist churches delivered messages about family, freedom and faith.

Jim Tate, pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church, Brantley, said the gathering was a chance for Baptists in the county to fellowship and reflect on how God has blessed them throughout the year.

“This was something that had been a long-time coming,” Tate explained. “This was an event that allowed us to be united as brothers and sisters in Christ because of the One who unites us. And it allowed us to be a positive witness to our neighbors.”

Parker Bowen echoed the thought.

“From those that I talked with that night, everyone who attended came away with a tremendous blessing,” said Bowen, pastor of Highland Home Baptist Church, Highland Home. “The three messages that were preached were positive, reinforcing and encouraging. God has blessed each of us in a mighty way and the event reflected the reasons why this is true.”

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