Thursday, November 17, 2011
Ecumenical Prayer Service held at St. Bernard
Heavy rains didn’t dampen the grateful spirit of ministers from North Alabama who joined in the recent Ecumenical Thanksgiving Prayer Service at St. Bernard Prep School. Rev. Joel Martin, SBP Headmaster, said annually students and staff invite the ministers, priests and religious of their churches to participate in the celebration.
Leading the opening prayer was The Rev. Robert Blackwell from Grace Episcopal Church in Cullman. Scripture readings were given by Sr. Teresa Walsh of Annunciation of the Lord Catholic Church in Decatur; The Rev. Mitchell Williams, First United Methodist Church in Cullman, and The Rev. Andrew Siegenthaler, Christ Covenant Presbyterian Church in Cullman.
Delivering the homily for the celebration was The Rev. Dr. Edwin Hayes, pastor of First Baptist Church in Cullman. Dr. Hayes reminded the congregation of students, staff and guests of how Thanksgiving came to be a national holiday, remembering the pilgrims and the hardships they faced on their journey to America.
“Thanksgiving is a blessing to those who express it. It is a time to be thankful for those who have gone before us. We owe a debt to those before us and those after us. We did not just inherit the land from our fathers; we are borrowing it from our children and our grandchildren. Therefore, we have a responsibility to care for this world that God has created," Rev. Hayes said.
After the sermon, students offered prayers of thanksgiving/petition, during which gifts representing the prayers were offered at the altar of the Abbey Church. Thanks was expressed for the harvest that makes our lives possible, and all creation; the freedom of our Country, our armed forces, and elected officials; parents, teachers, and friends; education and wisdom; athletic abilities, people of all faiths, and loved ones who have died.
Music was provided by Alex Ginas, trumpet, Agnes Jeong, flute, and Yoon Choi, piano, under the direction of Lester Harris; and Mary Standifer, violinist; and the St. Bernard Choral group under the direction of Mr. Rodney Fike.
“This St. Bernard tradition is a happy one,” said Fr. Joel, “and we look forward to it every year.” “The men and women who come to us for the celebration are very busy, yet they take pains to join us because they are so important in the lives of the students who invite them.”
Thanksgiving dinner was enjoyed by all in the dining hall immediately after the celebration; students waited on the visiting clergy.