“The Owosso-Area Community Choir will be the central part of the 2015 Community Thanksgiving service at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22, when ‘Two-Way Love’ (A Divine Relationship) will be shared in the Owosso Middle School auditorium, 221 N. Water, downtown Owosso,” said Choir Director Lynn Webster. The Community Thanksgiving service is an annual part of the Owosso Area Ministerial Association’s calendar of events, inviting area churches to worship together, which also includes a union service on Good Friday, according to Pastor Marlene Webster, president of the Owosso Area Ministerial Association.
The first Community Choir group was organized in 1998 with 37 members, who shared Don Moen’s “God With Us” at the Owosso Wesleyan Church. Lynn Webster, then minister of music and worship at Bethel Evangelical Free Church,
was the director, with Mike Hendricks as the narrator. Webster recalled, “It was kind of hectic, with the sanctuary totally packed. Since then we’ve utilized the First Church of the Nazarene, the Lebowsky Center, the Owosso Middle School and Owosso High School auditoriums as sites for the community-wide event. A really special part of this service has been asking folks to bring nonperishable grocery items as a ‘cover charge’ to benefit the Owosso Public Schools ‘Owosso Cares’ food-gathering project that donated more than 10,000 pounds of food for local food pantries two years ago.”
Each year an offering is taken to benefit a local organization, which included the Salvation Army, the Baby Pantry, the Shiawassee Hunger Network, the Zac Frolka Project and Habitat For Humanity. OAMA treasurer Mark Kincaid expressed his gratitude to the community, “During the years that our Union Thanksgiving Service has been presented by the Community Choir, more than $35,000 has been given to local charitable groups! This has provided considerable help to the community. This year’s offering will benefit the Salvation Army food baskets for 600 families in the Owosso area.”
Choir Director Webster said, “This year’s choir presentation, ‘Two-Way Love’ will share the divine relationship shared by our love for God and His overwhelming love for us. I’m very excited about this year’s program, which will include soloists Susie Barker, Don and Michelle Byers, Leonora Fruchey, Barb Olds, Mike Reath and Amy Welch; Stronghold Quartet will also be sharing a song with us. With great soloists and this year’s 65-voice choir, the sound will be wonderful!” More than 20 area churches are represented within the choir.
Many of the “charter” members from the first choir are in this year’s group including Sue Cavanaugh, Virginia Gastin, Deb Grazier, Jim MacKay, Sue Mead, Lucy Miller, Joanne Tipton, Diana Webster, Amy Welch and director Lynn Webster.
Pastor John Miller, now pastor at Oakley Community Church, who was president of the Owosso Area Ministerial Association in 1998 when the first Community Choir event took place, returns as the narrator. “The members of our Community Choir and members of the OAMA cordially invite area residents to attend ‘Two-Way Love’ and be blessed by this celebration of the divine relationship shared by God and His believers,” said Director Webster.