Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service goes YouTube this year

  • Trinity Church in Shelburne Falls. Recorder/Paul Franz Paul Franz

Trinity Church, Shelburne Falls
Published: 10/29/2021 3:19:48 PM

For many years, a group of churches in Western Massachusetts have been joining together to offer an Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service. The churches include Trinity Church, Shelburne Falls (which is four denominations), St John’s Episcopal Church in Ashfield, the Federated Church of Charlemont, the Congregational Church of Ashfield, the Congregational Church of Buckland and Shelburne Congregational Church.

Most years there is a huge inter-church choir led by one of the church music directors. A message is offered, prayers are prayed, a collection is taken for a local or national social service need and a small repast is offered. This has been a sustaining connection for all the churches and a wonderful beginning to the season of giving.

Last year, to our dismay but not a surprise, due to the pandemic, we were not able to have this service. This year, as all the churches are now open or doing some kind of hybrid services, we thought we might be able to come together. The clergy gathered to discern if this could happen safely and we ultimately decided that it was not possible in person.

And so the 2021 Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service was born — not in person but on YouTube! Three of the churches will send recordings of their choirs singing a Thanksgiving hymn. One pastor will offer a message. Others will offer a Call to Worship, an Invocation, Prayers of the People and a Benediction. The text is from the Letter to the Colossians 3: 12-17. If you would like a link to the service when it comes on line (Tuesday Nov. 23) you can write to Rev. Marguerite Sheehan at

As our neighbor churches strive to continue to be one body, we take strength and direction from this long-ago letter that right now seems directed to our entire world, still suffering with the pandemic and still finding so much to be thankful for. “Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God!”


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