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The Church Within
Thanksgiving Service of 2011

In Memory of

Minister Judy Girard

Your Gifts of Love to others make possible the growth of this Ministry and are greatly appreciated by all whom they serve.

11-24-2011 Thanksgiving Day Service of the Church Within
Thanksgiving Service 2011 in Memory of Minister Judy Girard

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Welcome by: Pastor Daniel
Greetings my Beloved Sisters and Brothers, and welcome once again to the Church that is Within. You are the Temple. You are the Congregation. Any and All Truth is the Gospel. The Divine Spirit within you is your True Minister.

Since 1999, our Thanksgiving Day tradition for The Church Within has been a Thanksgiving Service offered by our much loved Minister Judy Girard. Judy Graduated with Honors from this school we call Earth in February of this year to begin the next phase of her Eternal Journey. I thank God that we were privileged to have her as a part of our lives, and so In honor of Judy and of Thanksgiving, today I will be presenting a replay of one of my favorite Thanksgiving Services from 2003 that Minister Judy shared with us.

Now… I had better get moving because I'm the full-time Chef here and I have a Thanksgiving Day Feast to start preparing. Happy Thanksgiving All! And Enjoy the Service!

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."
(Leo Buscaglia)

The Sermon
As has been the custom for the last few years, it seems like no matter how quiet I have been, I write the Thanksgiving Service. Thanks to my dear brother, Daniel, for that. This year is apparently no different as I came across an archived article from several years ago that really struck me. It seems to fit perfectly.

While the Holiday of Thanksgiving is primarily a North American event, we all have reason to pause and express gratitude. We all have many things for which to thank God, no matter what our circumstances may be. Even in the midst of desperation and depression, there is something for which to be grateful. Think about it and take a moment to connect with your Divine Creator, giving thanks for all with which you have been blessed.

The real topic of my sermon though is this:

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought it might be fun to play a game this week. This game involves surprising people in our lives with gifts of gratitude. For example, I knew a gentleman a few years ago who was known to deliver fruit baskets to the local nursing homes; miniature Christmas trees to his elderly clients; and one day he even chased a rubbish truck down the street to give the attendants money to buy themselves breakfast. This man died a few years ago, but the world is a better place for him having walked this earth.

The object of this week's game -- let's call it the "Thank You Game" -- is to find a creative and inexpensive way to thank or acknowledge those people in your life that often get overlooked. For example you might do something like:

1. Bring a box of cookies to your local fire or police station and thank them for their protection and hard work throughout the year (chocolate chip is always a safe bet!). Or go healthy and bring some fruit! A can or bag of premium coffee would be appreciated as well.

2. Ask to speak to the boss of an employee who takes good care of your needs. For example, if a customer service representative provided you with exceptional care, let his or her supervisor know about it.

3. Send a thank you card to someone who would least expect it like your landscaper, auto mechanic, lawyer, accountant, dental hygienist, child's teacher (or daycare provider), doctor, dentist, or housekeeper. Don't forget your pastor, minister or other spiritual leader.

4. Bring a box of chocolates to your post office and let the employees know that you appreciate the way they handle your mail (from what I understand, they rarely get this kind of acknowledgment).

5. Leave a larger than normal tip for a wait person who serves you a meal.

6. Consider giving work to someone who's been laid off. Even part time income can make a big difference, especially during the holiday season.

7. When you're driving the car, make it a point to stop and let others into traffic (smile too!).

8. Offer support to a military family in your community. You might bake an apple pie, send a note of comfort, or even help out with work around the house. Some of these folks have been away from their loved ones for several months or more and could really use your loving kindness.

9. Think about the people who took good care of you in some special way during this past year. Did a close friend support you during a difficult time? Did your mom or dad take the kids while you worked? Was there a teacher, boss, or mentor who helped you grow in some way? Make it a point to let them know how much their support meant to you.

10. Write the words "thank you" on the bills you pay this month.

11. Surprise an employee with a single rose as a thank you for a job well done (you might even invite him or her out to lunch).

12. Thank the store clerk working at your local convenience or grocery store for working on a holiday.

13. Is there someone in your neighborhood who needs a little extra help? Walks shoveled or swept? Trash taken to the curb? Help with a small child? Go out of your way to find a way to help them.

14. And finally, remember those closest to you as well. Those with whom you live; your life partner, child, best friend or maybe even an enemy. Making peace with those around us may be the best gift we can give the universe!

Whatever you decide to do, unleash your creative spirit and have some fun. Stop for a moment and browse through your address book or database program and identify the people who serve you, keep you safe or help make your life easier in some way. Then, consider your neighborhood, your community, family or friends. Who could use a special acknowledgment this week? Make a list of at least five people and set out to thank one special person every day!

As you play the "Thank You" game you'll probably discover what my friend learned many years ago: saying thank you and giving to others feels so good you'll want to do it throughout the year.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Prayer
Loving God,

We do praise you and thank you for the many gifts you so abundantly pour out upon us as your children. This week, help us be mindful of those in our lives who would benefit from a little extra attention and thanks-giving.

Minister Judy Girard
The Church Within

We Miss You Judy!!! Hope you're having a Great Time… I Know you Are!

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