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Ministers bring Caroline together to show thanks

After the deaths of two Caroline County High School students this fall, several Caroline County pastors organized a meeting for the community to mourn and support the teens’ families.

That show of unity was so strong that they decided to hold another meeting this week—to give thanks.

Pastors, business owners, first responders and educators, as well as many other residents, gathered Monday night at Caroline High School for a special Thanksgiving concert. Organizers said they hope to make the meeting an annual Thanksgiving-week event.

The high school band and chorale and two Caroline church choirs performed for an audience of about 220 people. Guests were asked to bring nonperishable food items for the county’s food pantry and donations to the high school band and the county’s Department of Social Services.

“We are here to give thanks for one another,” explained emcee David Upshaw, pastor of Concord Baptist Church.

He then asked each member of the audience to turn to the person next to him and say, “I am thankful you are here.” And he encouraged residents of the community to come together in more than just times of crisis.

Community leaders took turns speaking and thanking groups who were in the room.

“It’s about getting to know one another,” said Caroline Sheriff’s Maj. Scott Moser, who spoke on behalf of the county’s first responders. “I challenge each one of you to come together on a day-to-day basis.”

Schools Superintendent Greg Killough referenced the recent deaths of the students and said he is thankful for the community support.

“I’m touched to see a community wrap around and touch these children and show the faith,” he said.

Mel Covington, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Bowling Green, led the audience in a creative exercise.

He started a “wave of gladness,” like the wave a crowd does at a sports event. Then, he called for a wave of words—asking everyone in the audience, starting in back and working to the front, to say what they were thankful for, in a single word.

The Rev. Lloyd Fox, both a pastor and an insurance agent, told those gathered that thankfulness is a two-sided coin. He said one side is being thankful for what we have and the other is being thankful for those who enable us to have what we have.

The Rev. Bambi Willis, of St. Asaph’s Episcopal Church, said she and other religious leaders understand there are divisions in the county. But she said they are optimistic that residents can work together.

“We, the ministry of Caroline County, are folk of greater hope,” she said.

 

Robyn Sidersky 540/374-5413

rsidersky@freelancestar.com

 

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