We Gather.

Thanksgiving is a season of gratitude.

Thanksgiving is a celebration of our values. It is a time to worship and praise God for our blessings.

In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared a feast that for many years was considered the first Thanksgiving in the New World. Virginia historians credited Berkeley Plantation with the initial observance, while noting that in the early days, the celebration of Thanksgiving was strictly a religious experience, focused entirely on prayer.

Virginia and Massachusetts were given equal billing by a Thanksgiving Proclamation from President John F. Kennedy in 1963, which stated “Over three centuries ago, our forefathers in Virginia and Massachusetts, far from home, in a lonely wilderness set aside a time of Thanksgiving. They gave thanks for their safety, for the health of their children, for the fertility of their fields, for the love which bound them together and for the faith which united them with their God.”

Modern Thanksgiving traditions include the president of the United States offering a “pardon” to one or two Thanksgiving turkeys each year, sparing the birds from slaughter. The “free” birds are then sent to a farm for retirement. In addition, many governors also perform the annual turkey pardoning ritual. Thanksgiving observances have been expanded to include parades, shopping and Santa’s arrival.

Westminster Canterbury Richmond residents will have the opportunity to both worship and feast with many celebrations planned. On Thanksgiving Day, there will be a special service at 10:30 a.m. in the Montague Chapel with The Rev. Charlotte Evans from Pastoral Care presiding. Residents will provide special string instrumental music.

Our community is dedicated to giving back to the Richmond area in a wide variety of ways. Your donations to the Fellowship Fund help area seniors-in-need by providing essential services such as food, shelter and medical care. To find out more information on how your philanthropy supports this initiative and the many cultural and programming opportunities here, please contact Gayle Haglund, Director Resource Development at (804) 264-6702 or ghaglund@wcrichmond.org.

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