Helena UMC celebrates togetherness through Thanksgiving dinner

Published 3:23 pm Friday, November 19, 2021

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By MICHELLE LOVE | Staff Writer

HELENA – On Wednesday, Nov. 17, Helena United Methodist Church opened its doors for its annual Thanksgiving dinner celebration. The church provided a fully dressed Thanksgiving meal to its church members to promote togetherness in worship.

The church has been holding the Thanksgiving dinner for close to 15 years, but during the COVID-19 pandemic the event’s organizers felt it was safer to cancel the event. Helena UMC’s children’s director, Cynthia Dooley, said everyone was more than ready to jump back into the tradition after such a stressful and emotional almost two years.

“This is our first time to have dinner together as a church family since March of 2020,” Dooley said. “We’re just excited to get back together as a family.”

The meal was divided into two time slots, one at 5 p.m. and another at 6:30 p.m. Dooley said between the two times, they had approximately 190 people attend the dinner. They also did to-go plates for those that weren’t comfortable eating in a large group.

The meal was cooked by several members of the church who wanted to help make the evening special, while several Sunday school members volunteered to serve guests.

Though the event is free, guests who want to donate could make donations to the Global Outreach Fund, which is the church’s mission fund. The fund sponsors their Festival of Three Kings, an annual event where the church sponsors presents for children in the Shelby County foster care system.

“Church members get a child or two and buy a present on their Christmas wish list,” Dooley explained. “There’s a $150 maximum limit, and people buy the presents and that way the foster parents can get their presents for them.”

Dooley said events like the Thanksgiving dinner are important because spending time with others in your congregation provides a feeling of fellowship that several people missed during the pandemic.

“Your church is your family,” she said. “At Thanksgiving, you spend time with your family, and so doing this a week before, it gives people the opportunity to spend time with their church family. For some people they don’t have family around, so this helps them feel included and like they have that family aspect of the holiday.”

The Festival of Three Kings will take place Saturday, Dec. 11. For more information about Helena UMC or to donate to their Festival of Three Kings, visit its website at Helenaumc.org.