Thanksgiving service shifts time, location

By Galen Holley/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – A group that works to build stronger relationships between black and white Christians is organizing Tupelo’s annual Thanksgiving service this year.
The Tupelo-Lee County Chapter of Mission Mississippi is pulling together the event, which will be held at First United Methodist Church at noon on Nov. 22, the Monday before Thanksgiving.
The chapter is taking over planning of the service from the Greater Tupelo Ministerial Alliance, a group of Tupelo pastors that two years ago took the baton from the Multiracial Committee.
Bringing folks together across racial and denominational lines, and, reaching out even further, to followers of other religions can be challenging, but Mission Mississippi organizers are confident they can do it.
“We’re about building relationships,” said the Rev. Tillmon Calvert, associate pastor at Johnson Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Shannon and co-chair of the Tupelo Mission chapter.
“We’re not partisan, nor do we represent any denomination. This is an ecumenical event,” he said, adding that not only Christians, but also followers of every religion are encouraged to attend.
“We’re all part of this community,” said Calvert.
The program hasn’t been finalized, but in years past it’s included testimonials from a cross-section of the community, as well as music from area choirs.
Most recently the service was held at the Link Centre on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, but this year organizers will return to the custom of years ago when local churches hosted it.
Calvert believes the time and location will allow more people to attend.
Mission Mississippi started as a joint effort of several churches in Jackson in 1992. The Tupelo-Lee County Chapter sponsors a prayer breakfast on the third Thursday of each month, and participating local churches take turns hosting.
Contact Galen Holley at (662) 678-1510 or galen.holley@djournal.com.