Owego’s oldest church to host Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service

The First Presbyterian Union Church (FPUC), located at North Avenue and Temple Street, will host the annual ecumenical Thanksgiving worship service for the Owego community on the Sunday before the holiday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m.

A biblical verse is quoted in large lettering above the church’s organ in front of the sanctuary: “Enter Unto His Gates with Thanksgiving” (Psalm 100:4). The Rev. Dave Havener of Lakeview Chapel will be the preacher for the evening; his sermon is titled “The Root of Gratitude” based on Psalm 100. Other pastors from the community will be assisting in the worship leadership.

Owego area churches’ choirs will form a joint choir for this worship service; B.J. Heinle, the FPUC Director of Music, will direct the choir. They will sing an anthem titled “Let the Redeemed of the Lord” by Michael Barrett. 

Anyone interested in singing with the choir is invited to come at 6 p.m. for the rehearsal at FPUC. The singers will not be wearing choir robes for the service.

“All of Life is Filled with Wonder,” a hymn by Presbyterian Pastor Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, will be the middle hymn for the service. 

The hymn, written in 2010, was formatted with music to the tune of HYMN TO JOY (“Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee”) by the United Methodist Church’s national worship office, posted on their website and used by many churches throughout the USA. 

The middle verse of the hymn is: “For the ways we’re blessed with plenty — love and laughter, neighbors, friends; Nature’s wonders, seasons’ bounty, life in you that never ends; For the ones who’ve gone before us, giving witness to your way; We rejoice in all you give us every moment, every day.”

Two traditional Thanksgiving hymns for the worship service will be “We Gather Together” and “Now Thank We All Our God”.

The offering from the worship service will go to support the diverse work of Tioga County Rural Ministry. You can learn more about TCRM at www.tcrm.org. In 1790, the Presbyterian Church General Assembly sent the Rev. Nathan Kerr and the Rev. Joshua Hart to make a missionary survey of New York’s Southern Tier. They visited Owego. The first settled pastor of the Church in Owego was the Rev. William Clark, who was engaged by the people in 1803.

The Rev. Hezekiah May was called to the pastorate of the congregation in 1815, and on July 24, 1817 a Presbyterian Church was officially formed, with 11 members. The minutes of the Presbyterian Church’s governing body (Session) are complete from that day.

The public is invited to attend this community worship service.

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