This Sunday we will Celebrate Thanksgiving! How a national day of thanks came to be is a fascinating story.
In 1604 King James came to power in England, the same king who commissioned the translation of the Bible that was named after him. He was fairly tolerant of other religious opinions, except those who openly criticized the Church of England.
Secret congregations began to form, as dissenters left their persecuting churches. One such group was formed not far from Sherwood Forest, in a small village of Nottinghamshire called Scrooby. The authorities found out about them, and they decided to flee to Holland, where they had heard they could practice their faith freely.
The majority of this group, led by Pastor John Robinson, were still in Holland in 1620. Joining with a few followers yet in England, they decided to travel to the “New World”. The group in Holland hired a ship called the Speedwell, and another ship was hired in London – the Mayflower. They met in Southampton, England, on July 22, where they planned to sail together to Northern Virginia, but the Speedwell had been leaking on the journey from Holland, so they spent the better part of a week patching her up. They finally set sail on August 5, but the Speedwell was leaking again, so they stopped in Dartmouth for repairs.
On August 21, after the Speedwell was patched again, the two ships set out for the Americas. About 300 miles out to sea, the Speedwell began to leak again, and it was determined the ship was not sea-worthy. The two ships returned to Plymouth, England, where they abandoned the Speedwell. The cargo was transferred onto the Mayflower and, while several of the frustrated Pilgrims went home, most of them crammed themselves onto what was now a very crowded boat.
Finally, on September 6, the Mayflower departed Plymouth, England, and headed for America. She was carrying 102 passengers, including 3 pregnant women. One baby was born on the voyage, but another young boy died of pneumonia. On November 9, they sighted Cape Cod – after 66 days at sea. Because of the delays caused by the leaking Speedwell, many of them had spent the better part of four months on the boat.
Arriving much later than expected, they erected hasty shelters, but they simply were not prepared for the harsh New England winter, and nearly one-half of the group died before spring. Persevering in prayer and trust in God, plus aided by friendly Indians, those remaining reaped a bountiful harvest that next summer. The grateful Pilgrims declared a three-day feast in December of 1621 to thank God and celebrate with their Indian friends. It was America’s first Thanksgiving.
This began an annual tradition in New England, and it began to spread to other colonies as well. The first National Thanksgiving Day was November 26th, 1789, declared by President George Washington at the recommendation of Congress. National Thanksgiving Day declarations sporadically followed, until Abraham Lincoln set aside the last Thursday in November for an annual day of Thanksgiving in 1863. On December 26, 1941, Roosevelt signed a joint resolution of Congress changing the official national Thanksgiving Day to the fourth Thursday in November starting in 1942. And so it has remained, so let us give thanks! (Credit to various sources.)
Our 2022 Thanksgiving Celebration and Lunch takes place this Sunday, November 20. Turkeys are provided by the church, so bring your favorite side dishes (mashed potatoes, stuffing, salad, dessert, and more) to add to the table. Come with a heart filled with gratitude to the Lord; He deserves all thanks and praise! Please invite someone to join you at 10:35am either in the building or online for the Live broadcast on either Facebook (Honolulu AG) or our YouTube channel (Honolulu Assembly of God). Note: Sadly the Livestream did not happen last Sunday but will this week.
Coming Up: November 27 is “Deck the Halls” Sunday. We will decorate the building for Christmas and then enjoy a delicious prepared lunch together. (The lunch is free; you don’t need to bring anything that day.) Our 11th annual Christmas Lunch and Treasure Trade for ladies and girls will take place Saturday, December 3, at 11:30am. Please bring your donations of new or gently used items to the church before the event. Tickets are available at Sunday services or by calling the church office. (Tickets are free and help us know how many to welcome.)
Aloha ke Akua!