PULASKI, Va. (WFXR)– For the first time since the start of the pandemic, the Pulaski County Community Thanksgiving Service held its first joint worship with the Town of Dublin ministries.

Retired Pastor and member of The Pulaski Ministerial Association, Terrie Sternberg says the group has tried for many years to make the annual thanksgiving service a whole county worship, which includes surrounding churches from other areas.

“Up until recently, our Dublin town churches had a service in their locality the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Pulaski services are traditionally held on the Tuesday night before Thanksgiving,” said Rev. Sternberg.

Photo credit: WFXR’s Kelsey Jean-Baptiste

In the last few years, they decided to combine the two town observances of the holiday, while alternating between the two towns.

This year they held the joint worship at the First United Methodist Church in the Town of Pulaski, which is technically their first year back since the pandemic shut down all types of gatherings.

Sternberg says it’s important to combine different types of worship.

“It’s funny how easy it is to accept the way we have done things for a number of years, and every few years we bring ourselves up and say is this the best way we can be showing the unity of the faith community as well as invite people to come together in one community service,” she says.

She continues to say that stepping away from the traditions of two communities, and becoming one shows that bond.

Rev. Sternberg says the pandemic held them back from making this change.

“We are not as restricted now by the COVID pandemic as we were during 2020,” said Rev. Sternberg, “2021 we could have come back together in person, but frankly, our ministerial association had pretty much ceased to exist during the pandemic.”

Those who joined in on the service listened to scripture, hymns, and prayer. They also enjoyed Evangelist Dwight Haynes’ Chalk Art, “Tuning Hearts for Thanksgiving,” music by Ann and Dwight Haynes, and a message by the host church’s new pastor, the Rev. Joshua Kilbourne. 

Photo credit: WFXR’s Kelsey Jean-Baptiste

Sternberg believes there is more than one way you can show the gift of giving through worship.

The first way happens during the week of holy week. This is where they contemplate the death of God’s love.

“I think when we consider God’s love to us of his sons Jesus, the gift of mercy, the gift of salvation our response is to say thank you,” said Rev. Sternberg.

This can be a tangible sign of thanks, which the faith community tries to share to benefit people. She says their offerings have gone to local groups and organizations to show that gift of love.

The second way is through Thanksgiving.

“I think it’s just a really plain connection between what God has given us, and all the first fruits of creations, and as we gather in the harvest that is what thanksgiving is about gathering in that rich harvest time,” said Rev. Sternberg.

100% of the offerings from the service will go to Pulaski weekday religious education programs.