Much like Thanksgiving itself, the annual Thanksgiving Unity service is a long-running tradition that brings people of all kinds together.

Organized by the Sylacauga Ministerial Association, the event has served for more than 50 years to join churches of differing denominations during a time that is already focused on togetherness and worship.

“It’s the biggest program we have as the organized Ministerial Association, and it’s just great for the body of Christ to come together,” said Henry Looney, pastor of Reaching the World Bible Church and Ministerial Association member. “Everybody’s welcome to be a part. All the pastors are going to be introduced and their congregations will be asked to stand during the service. It’s just a good time of fellowship.”

The service will be Nov. 24 at 6 p.m. at First United Methodist Church with a message delivered by ChristPoint Community Church pastor Bryan Taunton.

Special music is planned as well, to be performed by a community choir made of choir members from several area churches. FUMC music minister Chris Phillips will direct. Anyone wanting to participate in the choir should attend practice at 5 p.m. preceding the service.

An offering collected during the service will support the Mercy Fund of the Ministerial Association, which serves to meet the needs of transients and purchase Bibles for graduating seniors from Sylacauga and B.B. Comer high schools.

Following the Unity service there will be light refreshments and a time of fellowship in FUMC’s fellowship hall.

As with last year, Looney said they are hoping to gain participation from more and more churches throughout the community.

“We’re inviting every church to be a part of it and of course anyone else in the community who would like to come,” he said. “Not every church has been a part in the past, but we would love nothing more than to have full participation.”

The Rev. James Haskins, who joined FUMC in June, said 12 churches have committed to participate thus far. Being new to Sylacauga, Haskins is particularly excited for the opportunity to see the Sylacauga churches come together.

“This service brings us all together to help us realize that regardless of how we practice our faith, or our denominational differences, we are all still children of God,” he said. “There’s no sign out on the front lawn that changes that.”

Haskins said the fellowship following Sunday’s service is going to be an important time.

“People from these different churches perhaps know one another, but I don’t know how much time they get to spend talking to one another, so this will give everyone a chance to just be together and celebrate the season,” he said.

The Unity service, Haskins said, “sends a message that God is alive and desires to bring his children together. As individual churches, we can’t do the work of the Kingdom in this community. We’ve got to find ways to work together toward our common goal and that’s to make Jesus real in our community.”

For more information, contact FUMC at 256-249-0362.

Contact Emily McLain at