Church families celebrate Thanksgiving with a huge dinner for all

by Betty Wrenn Day - Posted on Nov 17, 2010 - 05:29 PM

Photo: With their community Thanksgiving dinner just a few days away, members of White Marsh Baptist and Bellamy United Methodist churches meet for final plans. The ladies listen as committee chairman Brenda Skinner relates how the extra long single mixer, hooked to an electric drill, will whip up the mashed potatoes prepared in large containers. From left are Jo Ann Burton, Mary Elizabeth Carlton, Ann Harwood, Margaret Walker, Karen Glaze, Skinner, Kathy Dency and Carolyn Dutton. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day.

With their community Thanksgiving dinner just a few days away, members of White Marsh Baptist and Bellamy United Methodist churches meet for final plans. The ladies listen as committee chairman Brenda Skinner relates how the extra long single mixer, hooked to an electric drill, will whip up the mashed potatoes prepared in large containers. From left are Jo Ann Burton, Mary Elizabeth Carlton, Ann Harwood, Margaret Walker, Karen Glaze, Skinner, Kathy Dency and Carolyn Dutton. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day.

The commercial world may have sort of pushed Thanksgiving Day aside, but not those who believe it’s a day to express thankfulness, gratitude and appreciation to God for one’s blessings. The writer O. Henry called it the one day that is purely American. For many Americans, Thanksgiving is the only time of year when all members of a family gather together. More than any other holiday, it’s a celebration of family and home.

Although its origin has always caused debate, there’s one American tradition that has always been associated with this special holiday and that is a grand Thanksgiving dinner. Members of the White Marsh Baptist Church and Bellamy United Methodist Church will provide this special tradition for many, many people this Saturday, Nov. 20, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at White Marsh Baptist Church at White Marsh in Gloucester. The members served 450 dinners last year and there is a possibility they will serve as many as 600 this year.

The ladies of White Marsh Baptist began this generous and most successful community outreach program in 2001 and have been repeating it annually. It’s all paid for (out of the church members’ pockets), then cooked and served, and delivered to those who are unable to attend. "Most of the cooking is done at home," Margaret Walker, a long-time committee member and worker, explained, "and then brought to church. Now the mashed potatoes are prepared at church, mostly outside in large stew pots. After mashing and whipping by hand for several years, my husband Dave came up with the idea of hooking up a single long mixer to an electric drill, and now it’s no problem and much easier."