Ebenezer Church welcomes Thanksgiving crowds

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
Maxie Thrush and David Grove invite anyone and everyone to Ebenezer United Brethren in Christ Church for Thanksgiving. The kitchen will be filled with volunteers next week, and turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie are on the menu.

Up to 500 people were served Thanksgiving dinners by Ebenezer United Brethren in Christ Church last year, but the congregation wants even more.

For the fifth year, the church at 3661 Williamson Road is throwing its doors open wide. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 28, the public is invited to enjoy a free meal with a host of other guests.

“It’s the typical Thanksgiving gluttony,” laughed Pastor David Grove.

Approximately 25 church members have volunteered to cook and serve the meals. They will work from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m., and probably sneak in their own feast.

The dining hall will be decorated and always carries a family feel, said Grove and administrative assistant Maxie Thrush.

“It’s a really happy atmosphere,” said Thrush. “The people helping want to be here.”

Some Christmas music will also be playing, to help people disconnect for a little while from the cares of the outside world, stated Grove.

He sees his congregation as very community-minded, and this annual event is one way to reach out without expecting anything in return.

“Everything in our building and on our land is not ours. It is all God’s.”

The meal is viewed as an opportunity to do what a church is meant to do. Ebenezer literally means “helping stone”, and the members want to reach out to those who have no where to go for the holiday, those whose children have grown, the less fortunate, or simply the people who want to be part of something bigger. Sometimes folks driving by happen to see the sign and stop in to eat. And for some families, the meal has become their Thanksgiving tradition.

Everyone is welcome. While reservations are not necessary, they are appreciated and people can call 597-3869. In addition, those who want to bring pre-packaged meals back home should call in the number desired and the time they will come to pick them up. Finally, anyone wishing to have a meal delivered between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. should also call in that order.

Leftovers are donated to the Hagerstown Rescue Mission.

Grove is happy that the event is so special to the church members, and he is also pleased that other organizations in the area sponsor free meals for the public. He sees it as a way for those who are blessed to turn around and bless others.