"We gather together to ask the Lord's blessings, He hastens and chastens His will to make known. The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing. Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own." — A traditional Thanksgiving song written by Adrainus Valerius in 1597.
HOLIDAY — Thanksgiving, a traditional North American holiday, was first celebrated in 1621 in Plymouth, Mass. Native Americans and Pilgrims shared a meal together to celebrate their deliverance from a bleak winter.
On Thursday, families all over the United States will gather together to give thanks for all the blessings given to them. Several churches in and around Pasco will celebrate Thanksgiving with special services.
The West Pasco Ministerial and Fresh Start for Pasco will host an Ecumenical Thanksgiving Stone Soup Prayer Service at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Holiday United Church of Christ, 4826 Bartelt Road in Holiday.
"We are doing this to remind us of the concept of being thankful to God and to recall the gathering of the Christian Pilgrims and the Native Americans," said the Rev. Drew Willard, pastor of the host church.
People are encouraged to bring canned goods which will be used for Fresh Start for Pasco's food pantry program.
"It remains to be seen if there will be any soup, but there will be some modest refreshments," said Willard.
The Stone Soup reference comes from the story of a soldier walking home from war and coming to a village looking for food and shelter. He set a pot of water to boil and added a clean stone to the pot. When children asked him what he was doing he said making stone soup.
He then said it would taste better with some chicken and vegetables. Before he knew it people in the village came with food to spice up the pot and there was plenty of soup to go around for everyone.
In Odessa two churches, Keystone Presbyterian Church and Keystone Community Church will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday at 7509 Van Dyke Road for a combined Thanksgiving service.
Pastor Lyle Wells will give the sermon and there will be special music. An offering will be taken to benefit Metropolitan Ministries.
"This is for Christian unity and to give thanks to our Almighty God," said Dr. Frederick Terry pastor of the Keystone Presbyterian Church, the host church. "Hopefully we will get to know each other better as we gather together as a community of faith."
Also at 7 p.m. Wednesday, members of St. Martin's Episcopal Church will gather together to offer prayers of thanks for all their blessings. The church is at 15801 U.S. 19 in Hudson. The Rev. Fred Scharf, associate pastor of the church and the Rev. Elaine Cole, deacon associate, will preside at the service.
On Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, the community is invited to a Thanksgiving Day Worship service at 10 a.m. at Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church, 12321 Canton Ave. in Hudson.
"The emphasis will be on thanking God for everything we have," said Dr. Kent Fuqua, pastor of the church.
This has been a Thanksgiving Day tradition at Hope church for more than 30 years.
"We usually have a good turnout," said Fuqua. "We ask people to bring a food offering as a blessing to distribute to a food pantry."