Memories: Celebrating The Harvest, Babies And A Mysterious Phone Call
The North Texas Conference staff share their favorite Thanksgiving recollections
I love Thanksgiving for all the traditional reasons, but serving as pastor of various congregations over the years, I loved it for another reason: it was my “relaxing” holiday. Most other holidays included congregational or civic responsibilities, such as Holy Week and Easter, or the annual Independence Day Parade in which the church always participated. But Thanksgiving was different. Even in communities with joint Thanksgiving services sponsored by the ministerial alliance, by the time Thanksgiving actually arrived it was like taking a deep breath. Just a little downtime before the rush of Advent.
Rev. Marsha Engle Middleton,
Board of Ordained Ministry Officer
Tradition states that the original Thanksgiving was a meal prepared by immigrants and shared with the local native population. At Christ's Foundry, two Sundays before Thanksgiving, the people of Christ's Foundry (who primarily were first-generation pilgrims from Latin America) would prepare a meal and would invite the congregants of our Covenant Churches (the locals) to share in giving thanks for God's providence. Seeing the spirit of Thanksgiving being lived out in modern times gave me an appreciation for the tradition that many persons are missing today.
Rev. Owen Ross,
Center Director for Church Development
My mother was born on November 28th. Every few years, her birthday fell on Thanksgiving Day and we always made it a big deal to celebrate her birthday at our family dinner. This year, my mom would have turned 90 on Thanksgiving Day had she lived that long. So, I will think of her, I will celebrate her life and the precious memories I have, and I will probably eat a piece of pie in her honor.
Administrative Assistant for the East District
Growing up on a farm, Thanksgiving for me is about the ‘Harvest’. Grain in the barn for the winter ahead is a time for celebration for the bounty that will feed our family until the next growing season! My heart aches for the families that do not have sufficient grain to see them through the winter. Peace.
Associate Director of Connectional Resources
When I think of my Thanksgiving memories growing up, I think of pie. Cherry cream pie, strawberry rhubarb pie, apple pie, chocolate cream pie … such an abundance of delicious desserts, all handmade with love by different members of my extended family and shared with joy.
Today, now with my oldest away at college, I treasure Thanksgiving as a family reunion. Staying connected via text and phone calls is one thing, but nothing quite replaces a long afternoon of eating and laughing and talking together.
Rev. Andy Lewis,
Director of Missional Outreach and Assistant to the Bishop
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and is more special after the birth of my twin daughters. Our girls’ first Thanksgiving came after a difficult pregnancy and premature birth. My husband and I were especially thankful as we loaded up our new family of four to spend time with family. The girls were passed around to family members all thankful for these two bundles of joy.
Associate Director of Communications
I am comforted by President Abraham Lincoln calling for a National Day of Thanksgiving even though the outcome of our bloody Civil War was far from certain. Our practice of giving thanks in the Eucharist (“The Great Thanksgiving”) even in the midst of turmoil, opens the way for Christ’s redemption of even the lesser angels of our nature.
Rev. Andrew Fiser,
Associate Director of Missional Outreach
Wishing everyone a blessed thanksgiving where the bounty of food on the table is made more delicious by the abundance of love around the table.
Rev. Vic Casad,
East District Superintendent
When I was growing up, our kitchen had double ovens. I never understood why this was a big deal to my mom when I was a kid. Now that I’m an adult, I can appreciate having more than one oven. But alas, I’m left to oven Jenga every Thanksgiving.
Hospitality Coordinator & Center Director Liaison
A few years ago as I was preparing my Thanksgiving dinner, I received a phone call. There was an older lady on the phone that started talking as soon as I said hello. I tried to interrupt her to ask her who did she want to talk to. She did not stop talking. I tried to say she had the wrong phone number and the wrong person on the phone. I did not know this lady. When I saw that I could not get in a word, I decided to just listen. She talked about her family and what she wanted for the holiday season. She talked to me as though we were best friends. However, I did not know anything about her nor her family nor her desires for the holiday season. Clearly, I was listening to a stranger. I started to just end the call several times but my spirit would not allow that to happen.
Finally about 45 minutes later, the lady said, “I know you don’t know me, but I thank you for just listening. I live alone and have no family. I just randomly called your number and you answered. Thank you so much for just listening to me. I am so lonely and just needed to talk to another person. You made my Thanksgiving, and I believe I can go on with life. Thank you again for just listening. We can now end our call. Hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving.” I was stunned and in tears. I was angry at my self for trying to end the call. This lady just wanted someone to talk with her or just listen to her talk. Clearly this was my job for that day. I was so happy to have been obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit. One of my best Thanksgiving mornings.
Rev. S. Dianna Masters,
Associate Director of Church Development
Published: Monday, November 25, 2019