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Familial Thanksgiving Made Possible by Community Churches

Pat Forrester and Emilie Bramlett, coordinators of the Community Thanksgiving. / Photo by Angela Rogalski

If the Pilgrims and Indians who shared the first Thanksgiving in American folklore were alive today and living in Oxford, they’d be very honored and pleased with the enormous community spirit that puts together the Thanksgiving meal at Oxford-University United Methodist Church on Thanksgiving Day.
This is the fourth year for the “open invitation” lunch and there are eight local churches involved in the event. Pat Forrester is the Mission’s Outreach Coordinator and has been with the church for 13 years, but this is her first year to be involved in the organization of the Thanksgiving preparations.meal 4
“My job role just changed here at the church,” Forrester said. “I’m now working with the missions and outreach staff at the church.”
“The first year the Elias’, a family here in our church, gave seed money for the meal,” Forrester said. “But at present eight churches are involved — our church, First Presbyterian Church, St. Peter’s Episcopal, Saint Andrews United Methodist, Burns United Methodist, Cambridge United Methodist, Abbeville United Methodist and Pine Flat United Methodist Church.”
Forrester said they have a volunteer sheet which church members use to contribute either money or a food dish toward the effort.
“We have one of our own church members who has offered to buy all the turkeys,” she said, “and they’re being cooked at Larson’s Cash Saver. And several ladies from our church are making the dressing. First Presbyterian is making all the macaroni and cheese for the meal. And we’re planning on around 250-300 people for the day. St. Peter’s is making sweet potato casseroles, Saint Andrew’s is making corn casserole, Burns United Methodist is going to help host and serve at the meal. Abbeville, Cambridge and Pine Flat United Methodist are all doing different things: casseroles, pies, cookies, bread and other desserts.”
IMG_7872The meal will be served on Thanksgiving Day from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the activities center at Oxford-University United Methodist Church, 424 S. 10th Street. Forrester stressed that the meal was open to the public.
“Everyone is invited,” she said. “The entire community is welcomed. We’re asking the sick, the lonely, students who can’t make it home for Thanksgiving or people who are displaced for any reason at all to please come. If there is someone who has family in the hospital or their relatives live far away and they can’t make it home; we want you to come and eat and fellowship with us. We’ve had fliers made up and sent out to the hospital so that people know about the meal. And a lot of our members and their families will be there too.”
It started out with just Oxford-University United Methodist the first few years, but Forrester said that Molly Mogridge and Meghan Berry were on their mission’s team last year and deserve a lot of the credit for getting all the other churches involved.
“They do a lot of community service work and they knew so many people,” Forrester said. “And they were instrumental in bringing some of the other churches into this mission event. So this year, I just followed their lead. And Emilie Bramlett, our communications coordinator, has worked side-by-side with me and actually got three of the churches on board. In fact, her mom and dad pastored three churches in Abbeville and that’s how Abbeville United Methodist got involved. We also have a sign-up online which lets all the churches and their members put it in their newsletters and sign-up to help.”
meal 1The menu includes:

  • Turkey
  • Green Beans
  • Tossed Salad
  • Corn Casserole
  • Corn Bread Dressing
  • Squash Casserole
  • Sweet Potato Casserole
  • Macaroni and Cheese

“And so many desserts, I can’t name them all,” Forrester said. “The main point I want to stress is that everyone is invited and very welcomed. So, please come. Again, the meal will be served on Thanksgiving Day from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the activities center at Oxford-University United Methodist Church, 424 S. 10th Street.”
Angela Rogalski is a HottyToddy.com staff writer and can be reached at angela.rogalski@hottytoddy.com.

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