By Riley Manning
TUPELO – Religious and community leaders will take pause in their busy schedules at noon Monday to attend the annual Tupelo community Thanksgiving service.
Hosted this year by All Saints’ Episcopal Church, the program will consist of a brief session of prayer and song.
“If you ask me, I’d say we have a lot to be thankful for,” said the Rev. Stanford Adams, curate at All Saints’. “This service acknowledges that in a way that brings us together.”
City Council President Nettie Davis and Mayor Jason Shelton will be among the speakers. Church leaders from around the city will recite prayers and scripture in commemoration of Thanksgiving, and an offering will be taken for the Salvation Army.
“It’s also symbolic, having all these leaders from around the city sit down together, even though they may be on different sides of a few issues,” he said. “At Thanksgiving, we take time to appreciate our deeper, united purpose.”
The community Thanksgiving service was initiated in the late 1960s through a biracial committee hoping to ease tensions between blacks and whites. When the committee disbanded, responsibility for the service was passed around to different churches and organizations until then-mayor Jack Reed Jr. took the reins.
Since then, the community Thanksgiving service has been hosted by a different church each year.
Last year, the event took place at St. Paul United Methodist Church.
“Our mission as a church is to be outward-focused,” Adams said. “This is just one more way we can live that mission out.”
Adams said members of all faiths are more than welcome to attend.