At a time when many look forward to a special traditional meal with their families at Thanksgiving, the Centre of Influence at the Central Seventh-day Adventist (SDA)Church was filled with seniors and members of the differently-abled community for the 23 rd annual Thanksgiving Luncheon.
The senior pastor of the congregation, Pastor Thomas Rose, commented on the church’s effort, “There are some that do not a have enough to provide a special meal with their family or some may not have a family to share a meal with. I am happy to share in the ministry that embraces them.”
Mrs. Roselyn McFarlane is a Services Coordinator for residents in independent living housing. She ensured that transportation was available for all and lauded the SDA Church for a ministry spanning more than twenty-three (23) years. Mrs. McFarlane, who is a member of the SDA Church, shared, “The lunch gives the members of my community an opportunity to be together since many of them live alone. When you come here, you get a room filled with people of varying abilities and people need to know who they are.”
This ministry has been consistently supported by the senior students of the St. Croix SDA School. One student of the school, Austin Badall, was delighted to be involved as he believes all men are good and should be cared for. He is a practicing Catholic with a heart to serve people. Another student and member of the Central SDA Church, Hilsanna Chooran, had the joy of assisting her grandmother at the event.
The Community Services Leader of the church, Bernadine Jean Francois, also shared, “This provides the opportunity for these families to say, we’re not different. Yes, some are struggling, financially, but at least a couple times a year, we can be like the rest of our culture, [and enjoy] what should be happening on that date.”
The diners were grateful for the meal prepared in their honor and one commented, “With this meal, I can afford to say I had a happy Thanksgiving dinner.” Several have been enjoying the repast for more than five years and on behalf of the group, Thelma Lang declared, “This means so much because you meet friends you have not seen for a long time and you get to meet people.” Ruben Turner, who enjoys attending annually, expressed, “It gives me an opportunity to socialize with others.”
The event required many weeks of preparation which was done, primarily, by members of the congregation, as the Community Services leader explained, “All of us, together, have to do what we can to give them hope. If we give them hope and give them help, we all will be happy. I love serving people. God has given us health and strength and we are happy to use it to help people.”