A very special gift: Church meal just one facet of Thanksgiving project
Normally around this time of year, Fair Haven Baptist Church might host a Fall Festival, with an array of inflatables, face painting, and games for children.
At similar events in the spring and fall, their parking lot fills with cars and families, and the church gains an opportunity to reach out to the community.
This year, as pastor Mike Cobb was thinking forward to the holidays, he reflected on the needs of the community at this time and had a different idea.
"This time I want to try to get them to a church service, so that we can give them a gift, share the Good News, and let them eat with us if they would like," said Cobb, who cited demographics which list 21 percent of Bedford County residents as living below the poverty level.
In addition to a hot Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings served in the fellowship hall, guests will be provided a gift box filled with a frozen turkey and traditional side items to take home to their family.
"We thought it would be a good way of giving back to the community and say to people, 'We are here to serve you,'" Cobb said.
Spreading the word
The church sent out over 30,000 invitations to homes within driving distance, and will begin a door-to-door campaign this week in which members will personally invite families to join them.
Fair Haven will additionally provide shuttle service on the day of the event.
"Our goal, by faith, is to feed a thousand people, both on-site and with boxed meals," Cobb said. The Harvest of Giving mission is based on scripture in Matthew 25:35 " ... for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in."
In this passage Jesus relates a parable which draws a parallel between service to others and service to Him. " ...Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'"
Serving others is honored highly in heaven, "We're using that as our theme, that we will invite the community to church, feed them and give them a gift of Thanksgiving," said Cobb.
"Certainly, there's Good News beyond the turkey breast that we want to share with people."
If you go
Two worship services will be held Nov. 18, at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. After the 10:30 a.m. service a meal will be offered, and participants may take home preparations for a free Thanksgiving meal, including turkey and side dishes. Fair Haven is located at 2726 Hwy. 231 North. For more information contact the church at (931) 680-9803, or visit fairhavenfamily.com