By Rev. Alicia Randolph Rapking
Parish House Director
The year has flown by and once again we find ourselves in autumn, beginning to think about Thanksgiving. I have always enjoyed autumn, especially as a child, and especially October and November, because it is that time in the year that is not yet winter, that still has bright sunny days amid the crisp fall temperatures. Even though the leaves of the trees are turning and falling, there is a mysterious kind of beauty that I always enjoyed as I played outdoors for what might have been the last days before the winter wind and rain set in. Truth be known, I still like to play outdoors in these last days before the winter wind and snow, here in West Virginia.
And of course, in autumn, Thanksgiving comes again.
People who know me well know that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It was when I was a child and it is now. I love the smells of Thanksgiving, the colors of Thanksgiving, the tastes of Thanksgiving. I love the quiet of Thanksgiving morning before anyone in the household is awake—the quiet time before the hustle and bustle of what usually proves to continue from that day through until the end of the year. It is during this quiet time that I am the most reflective, really holding in the prayers of my heart, my family and friends that can be found throughout this world. In these moments are also the blessings of my life that come to my mind one by one as if to remind me not to forget to be thankful.
In my first year as director at Crosslines, Inc. and the Parish House, I thought a lot about what families would do if they did not have the means to gather their loved ones together on the day that we call Thanksgiving. I was pleased to find a practice already in place to provide area families with the means to celebrate with family and friends around a table filled with the traditional turkey and all the trimmings, including pumpkin pie. Since that time we have seen an increased number of families, and most Novembers we hold steady at around 700 families that come to us for a little extra help in order to gather their families for a Thanksgiving meal.
Without the generosity of this community, we would not be able to offer Thanksgiving meals. I am fortunate to work in a community where so many people care that their neighbors have an opportunity for meaningful Thanksgiving celebrations. I cannot say “thank you” enough. I cannot express how grateful I am that we can all work together to make this happen.
So, here we are at that time of the year. Thanksgiving comes again. On November 8th—a Thursday, this year—we will begin to distribute the baskets of food to celebrate this special day. This year our distribution dates for Thanksgiving will continue through the Tuesday before Thanksgiving—the 20th.
Again, this year, we are preparing for 700 meal baskets for Thanksgiving. I will admit it. I am concerned that we will have enough, but I am not worried. I am not worried because I have never known a time when we had to close the doors of Crosslines, Inc. and the Parish House because we didn’t have enough. I am not worried because I know that I live in the most generous community of all—a place where no one wants to see others do without.
So I am asking for help. Here is what we need and don’t need.
We DO NOT need turkeys or potatoes.
We do need about 1000 cans of green beans, 1000 cans of corn, 700 boxes of stuffing, 400 cans of cranberry sauce, and 700 cans of pumpkin or fruit pie filling. Optional items that we give out include gravy, chicken broth, or canned evaporated milk for pie.
We can also use donations of cash to help with expenses of items that we have to purchase if the items are not donated.
And, of course, we can use volunteers to help with distribution. I am so grateful for all the volunteers that have come and helped us over the past several years. As my ancestors used to say: “Many hands make light work!” And besides, the volunteers make this hectic time of the year fun!!
So, this week, if you are out and about shopping, please pick up some extra canned goods that will help make Thanksgiving dinner for a needy family. And please consider calling the Parish House to let us know that you or your group can help us out.
When I think of my blessings this year, I am including all of you that make it easy to offer something good to our neighbor families. Your kindness and generosity are expressions of mercy, grace, and love.
To God alone be Glory!
Special Parish Announcements
Program on Drug Crisis. Sunday, October 28, 2 p.m., Buckhannon at the Middle School library
Rev. Dr. Barry Ball is a riveting speaker with a passion for “the least” in our communities. He feels called to help churches respond to the opioid epidemic in our state. On October 28 Barry will be in Buckhannon to talk with folks from the Parish and the community. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn how you can help an addict avoid repeating destructive behavior.
Support Crosslines on-line Buy crafts, food, decorations, and clothing at the new serrv web site. Be sure to use this address: www.serrv.org?a=crosslines
The Clothes Closet, located behind the Parish House at 47 Sedgewick Street, welcomes all shoppers. In addition to clothes for all sizes, the store has household items, books, some furniture—and more, as they say. Prices are low; hours are 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Monday-Saturday.
On the parish calendar: Meals. Hot meals are served at noon on Monday and Friday by churches and other groups or individuals in our community, and on Wednesday by Holy Rosary Catholic Church
Bonhoeffer Study, led by Jamie O’Brien, examines the life and legacy of German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was executed by the Nazis shortly before the end of WW II. Meets Sunday afternoons as schedules permit. Contact office of First UMC (304-472-9494) for information.
Sisters group, Tuesdays, 9-10 a.m., Irons Chapel, Chapel Hill UMC. For all ladies who wish to grow in their Christian walk—Pam Walling, facilitator. New Advent study beginning.
Study Group, Wednesdays, 7-8 p.m., Godwin Fellowship Hall, First UMC. Pastor Steve Meadows leads a discussion of Max Lucado’s Grace: More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Need. All are welcome to join the conversation!
Undie Sunday, October in local churches
Awakening Services at South Buckhannon and Tennerton Charges, Sundays, September–November, starting at 6 p.m. Theme: The Eight Beatitudes. Nov 4, Reger Chapel; Nov 11, Tennerton. All are encouraged to attend.
Trustees and Parish Council meetings, Monday, October 29, 4 p.m. (Trustees), 5 p.m. (Council). Light meal served before Council meeting.
Fall Workshop for Middle School and High School Youth, Friday-Sunday, November 16-18, Cedar Lakes Conference Center. A gathering of youth from throughout the WV Annual Conference to worship, pray, and take a hands-on approach to life and faith through workshops. This year’s theme, from Hebrews 12:1-2, is Run the Race. Registration before November 1 is $100 and comes with T-shirt. Later registration is $115 and no shirt. Register here https://www.wvumc.org/fall-workshop
UMW Day Apart, Saturday, November 3, Salem UMC
Thanksgiving basket distribution, Thursday, Nov. 8–Tuesday, Nov. 20, Parish House
Veteran’s Day Breakfast, Sunday, November 11, 8 a.m., Chapel Hill UMC
Breakfast to honor all veterans who are currently serving or have served, but you need not be a veteran to attend. Special program to express our gratitude and entertainment by Soldiers of the Cross.
Charge Conference for all Upshur Parish charges, Thursday, November 29, Parish House