NORWAY - Bethany Lutheran, Grace United Methodist and Quinnesec United Methodist churches extend an invitation to everyone to join them for a special Thanksgiving worship service this year. The service is planned for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday at 130 O' Dill Drive in Norway at the church owned jointly by the Lutheran and Methodist congregations.
"It will be a time to gather as community to celebrate the many blessings we have received from our Creator," said a spokesperson.
"It is with an "attitude of gratitude" that we approach this season, remembering the origins of this holiday and the pilgrim tradition. Oddly enough, most devoutly religious pilgrims in the early days observed a day of thanksgiving with prayer and fasting, instead of partying and feasting," she adds.
It was in 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies.
In a letter about the celebration, Pilgrim Edward Winslow said, "And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty."
For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn't until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.
Thanksgiving in 2011 for modern day pilgrims, like the first Thanksgiving, comes amid trials and hard times for many, yet gratitude still prevails along with unshakeable trust in the goodness of God.
It's a celebration that also inspires and honors our traditions and reminds us of how richly we have been blessed, especially when family, friends and neighbors hold us close in a circle of love.