- Special Sections
People of many faiths came together Sunday night to worship and express gratitude in the annual Thanksgiving service sponsored by the Saline County Ministerial Alliance.
The setting was Butler Auditorium on the Benton High School campus.
An offering taken at the service raised $1,390.69 to be given to the Churches Joint Council on Human Needs.
Saline County Chaplain Tamra Gore, representing CJCOHN, explained that the number of area residents needing help from the agency has risen this year.
She said volunteers are needed on Dec. 17 to pack Christmas food boxes to be given to those who qualify for this aid and also to help distribute the boxes on Dec. 22. The food distribution project is expected to serve 900 families this year, Gore said. The boxes will be given to recipients on the parking lot of CJCOHN facilities on Elm Street.
During Sunday's service, Tom Noland, music minister at First Baptist Church of Benton, led the audience in songs of praise. He was assisted by guitarist Cory Epps.
Several ministers from the Alliance participated in the service. The Thanksgiving message was presented by Jason Keisler, pastor of New Life Assembly of God in Haskell.
Special music was presented by a children's choir led by Melissa Glover of First United Methodist Church; a gospel choir from Bryant High School led by Camryn Stillman; and
soloist Darren Robertson.
The service opened with music by violinist Oksana Pavilionis and several of her students at Ovation Academy.
The Rev. Frank Thurman, president of the Ministerial Alliance, welcomed those attending and also gave the benediction.
Other area ministers who took part included: the Rev. Natasha Murray-Norman, pastor of Parkview and New Hope United Methodist churches; the Rev. Brady Lane, pastor of First Church of the Nazarene; Brad Coble, youth minister of Calvary Baptist Church; the Rev. Gene Husky, pastor of First Assembly of God; and the Rev. Mike Titsworth, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church.
The Thanksgiving service is an annual project of the Ministerial Alliance.