DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Normally Dothan Interfaith Services gathers people of all walks of life together for a Thanksgiving service however this year will be a little different due to COVID-19.
“Interfaith Services are truly interfaith, we have every faith community, that we know of, in the Dothan area,” said Associate Pastor of The First United Methodist, Reverend Lynn Smilie Nesbitt.
The interfaith services will still be celebrating Thanksgiving this year virtually with the diverse faith communities of the wiregrass. The Christian, Jewish, New Thought, Hindu, Jains, and Buddhist communities will all share a special service on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. This will be the 13th annual service.
“I don’t know what you think about the number 13, but given what we’re going through this year it seems to me all together appropriate that this is the 13th. The 13th time we have gathered to give thanks for the unity of the faiths and the religious dispositions in our community,” said Dr. Joseph Johnson of Evergreen Presbyterian Church.
“That’s the whole service, how we give thanks, why we give thanks, the ways we give thanks, we are truly focusing on giving thanks, because that’s what unites us, and there’s plenty that divides us we don’t have to look for that,” Nesbitt said.
While some churches have chosen to continue gathering, Nesbitt says they are trying to handle COVID-19 responsibly following the guidance of the Alabama Department of Public Health, they decide every Friday based on the counties risk level if they will meet in person.
“We are trying really really hard to be responsible, one of Methodism’s thing is ‘don’t do any harm’,” Nesbitt said. “In our own church and in other churches and the synagogue we have had to use every third pew and put six feet between family, and that means that we can’t even get a third of the people in there and so there’s not really a place we could meet safely and we would not know what the risk level would be for Dothan and for Houston County until right before and that’s not a good way to plan an event”
This year’s service will be shared online Tuesday, November 24 at 6:00 p.m..