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Faith Blog

Features local churches’ and synagogues’ news, spiritual leaders and special events.

Give thanks. Prayers for your Thanksgiving feast.



Thanksgiving isn’t only about sharing a wonderful meal with your loved ones, it is also a time to meditate on all you are grateful for. This practice of expressing gratitude is not limited to any particular religious tradition. To that end, Beliefnet has compiled prayers of gratitude from a variety of religions in honor of Thanksgiving.


Prayer of Thanksgiving

We gather today, Lord of abundant life, as grateful children. Delighted and humbled by our bounty, we celebrate gifts of food and shelter, of colors that dance at dawn and dusk; we relish the scent of cooking foods, of burning leaves and summer’s wet grass, of snowflake, of animal fur. We marvel at the intricacy of spiders’ webs and fish bones, newborn babies and lines etched on faces of grandparents come for a visit today. All gifts from Your hand. When our meal is completed, leftovers stashed, and naps taken, we will leave replete, energized, and eager to go generously into the world and share our good fortune.
Author Unknown

Thank You for My Life

Dear God, thank you for my life on this earth, however challenging or not.
Thank you for giving me free will to love and be loved, to make my own decisions, to learn from my mistakes, to laugh when I am happy, to cry when I am sad.
Thank you for my family, my friends, my pets, my colleagues, and for every other living creature I meet along my journey.
Thank you for giving me strength to overcome adversity, to do what’s right for the benefit of the greater good, to rise above negativity.
Thank you for giving me hope for an end to world suffering, pain, and war, for a beginning of a world filled with light and everlasting love.
By Debbie Gissoni


In Gratitude for Family and Friends

Blessed are You, loving Father,
For all your gifts to us.
Blessed are You for giving us family and friends
To be with us in times of joy and sorrow,
To help us in days of need,
And to rejoice with us in moments of celebration…
We praise You for Your Son Jesus,
Who knew the happiness of family and friends,
And in the love of Your Holy Spirit.
Blessed are you forever and ever.
Catholic Doors Ministry


Gratitude for Friends and Family

To our friends who have become family
and our family who have become friends–
May you be blessed with the same
love and care you’ve given us.
By Mary Maude Daniels

For more Thanksgiving prayers, visit

What is one of your family’s Thanksgiving traditions? Visit our Facebook page and share with your neighbor.

JFBC Celebrates Christmas with fun for the whole family

Kick off the Christmas season at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church on Sunday, December 7, with Christmas Packages and fun for the whole family, from 4-7:30pm. Enjoy reindeer, horse drawn carriages, music, food, crafts, cakewalk, games, puppet show, photo booth, trains and more.

JFBC will hold their Christmas Festival Choir and Orchestra Concert December 13-14. Concerts will be held at 4pm and 7pm each day.

Johnson Ferry Baptist Church is located at 955 Johnson Ferry Road in East Cobb. For more information call 770-973-6561 or visit


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WellStar offers Congregational Health Network

Copy of Wellstar

WellStar’s Congregational Health Network serves as a bridge between WellStar’s healthcare system and their faith community. Coordinated by a registered nurse with specialized experience, WellStar’s program is designed to assist congregations of all faiths to develop a volunteer health ministry. There is no cost to participating congregations, and each one defines and directs its own health ministry. Currently over 90 faith communities provide congregational health programs in partnership with WellStar.

Many local congregations participate in WellStar’s Speaking About Wellness for the Community programs, offer health fairs and other health and wellness programs. For more information about WellStar’s Congregational Health Network, email or call 770-793-7388.


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Annual Thanksgiving Ecumenical Celebration returns to Temple Kol Emeth


Coexist, the Annual Thanksgiving Ecumenical Celebration, will be held on Thursday, November 20, 7pm,at Temple Kol Emeth, 1415 Old Canton Rd,  Marietta GA 30062

Enjoy a special pre-Thanksgiving celebration that is inspiring and fun, accompanied by uplifting music. Congregations across Atlanta come together this November for a night of interfaith prayer and community.

The event is open to the entire community.

According to organizers, “With some negative media about religious extremists in many religions, this evening is proof that we can coexist, can learn and can enjoy being together! We’ve been doing this for years! It is an evening you’ll long remember.”

For more information click HERE.


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Christmas Trees returning to St. Ann’s

Christmas Trees

The Knights of Columbus Council #8376 heralds its annual Heavenly Christmas Trees sale at the Catholic Church of St. Ann, 2905 Roswell Road in Marietta.

The fresh-cut, Fraser Fir trees, in six heights from 4’-5’ through 10’-11’, will be sold beginning at noon on Friday, November 28, through 8pm. The sale also includes 20”, 24” and 30” Heavenly Christmas Wreaths.

Subsequently, the lot will be open Monday through Friday 4-8pm, and on weekends from 9am-8pm until mid-December. Red, pink and variegated poinsettias in 61/2” and 10” pots will be available December 4-6 only.

All proceeds go to charitable causes.

The Knights of Columbus, founded in 1882, is a Catholic fraternal benefit society with 1.8 million members worldwide serving the church and the community under the principles of Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism. During 2012, in addition to raising and donating more than $167.5 million to charitable needs and projects, Knights volunteered more than 70 million hours of their time to charitable causes.

Our Lady of LaSalette Council #8376, established in 1983 at St. Ann Catholic Church, Marietta, GA, is one of the largest councils in the Southeast.

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Powers Ferry UMC celebrates 60th Anniversary

Powers Ferry United Methodist Church invites everyone to the 60th Anniversary Celebration of the church on Sunday, November 16th at 11am. Reverend Norton Campbell, the first Pastor at Powers Ferry along with other former pastors will be involved in the service. There will also be a covered dish luncheon in the Fellowship Hall immediately following worship.

The church is located at 245 Powers Ferry Road in Marietta. For further information please contact the church office at 770-973-5271 Monday, Wednesday or Thursday from 10 am until 3 pm for more information about church services and activities.

Veteran’s Day Prayer


Today we honor all who have served our country. Pictured is David M. Gilchrist Junior, Commander, U.S. Navy (father of EAST COBBER staffer Elizabeth Wentz).

Dear Lord,
Today we honor our veterans, worthy men and women who gave their best when they were called upon to serve and protect their country.

We pray that you will bless them, Lord, for their unselfish service in the continual struggle to preserve our freedoms, our safety, and our country’s heritage, for all of us. Bless them abundantly for the hardships they faced, for the sacrifices they made for their many different contributions to America’s victories over tyranny and oppression.

We respect them, we thank them, we honor them, we are proud of them, and we pray that you will watch over these special people and bless them with peace and happiness.

In Jesus’ name we pray; Amen.

By Joanna Fuchs


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Mt. Bethel UMC offers GriefShare: Surviving the Holidays

If you’re grieving and having some concerns about how you will manage the upcoming holidays, attend Mt. Bethel UMC GriefShare’s “Surviving the Holidays” DVD viewing and a presentation by the facilitators of the GriefShare program, Dr. Susan Zonnebelt-Smeenge, licensed clinical psychologist, and Dr. Robert DeVries, pastor and seminary professor, to be held on Saturday, Nov. 15,2014 from 9:30 to 11:00 am at the church in the small dining room. For more information, please call 616-780-1082.

GriefShare, a 13 week educational support group, is held each Wednesday from 6:30 – 8:15 pm through Feb. 4, 2015 except for holiday weeks at Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church (4385 Lower Roswell Rd) for those who are grieving the death of a loved one. The group is facilitated by two grief experts, Dr. Susan Zonnebelt-Smeenge, licensed clinical psychologist, and Dr. Robert DeVries, pastor and seminary professor, who also appear on the DVDs. Call 616-780-1082 for more information and to register.


Spiritual Salsa


Jesus said “You are the salt of the earth… you are the light of the world…”(Matthew 5:13-14)

In my sermon last Sunday [click here to read], I preached that Jesus said “You are the Cilantro of the Salsa! You are the Ginger of the Kung Pao Chicken!” OK, so maybe that is a really loose translation of “you are the salt of the earth, you are the light of the world,” but I hope you got the point: you are the saints of the church, and if you retain that flavor—that blessing that God has showered upon you, you can be a blessing to the world.

Some people asked me for my salsa recipe, so I’ll give you two recipes! The first is the recipe for my homemade salsa. The second is a recipe for Spiritual Salsa: How to enjoy the spice of the Christian life and share that with others! Enjoy!


Tom’s Homemade Salsa:

2 each, 16 oz cans of whole peeled tomatoes (squeeze out all the water)

1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies (squeeze out all the water); the brand counts.

1 large bunch of fresh Cilantro (use more leaves than stems if you can)

1 fresh serrano pepper, finely diced (leave out the whites if you want it milder)

2 fresh vine ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped

¼ of a fresh sweet Vidalia onion, diced fine

  • Blend until coarse the canned tomatoes, cilantro and Rotel. This is your base.
  • You can add another can of Rotel for more “heat;” consider adding it without blending to leave a little chunky.
  • Add the pepper, fresh tomatoes and onion and stir together.
  • Refrigerate—it gets better as it sits!
  • Share and Enjoy!


Spiritual Salsa

30 minutes of Prayer daily, any style

1 hour of Worshipping God weekly (with the Christian Community)

1 hour of Study weekly (with the Christian Community is best)

1 hour of Ministry & Service weekly (also known as stewardship)

Generous giving (another kind of stewardship)

  • Start with prayer and worship. This is your base. Prayer comes in many styles, so find the one that most connects you with Jesus Christ both for your authentic expression of who you are and your ability to listen to him most clearly.
  • While adding worship, be sure not to leave on the stove unattended—stir continually to watch and hear the flavors develop. Otherwise, the experience becomes lumpy and bland. By the way, don’t buy the kind they sell on the golf course or at the ball park—they are cheap imitations and they lack the nutrition of the Christian Community.
  • Add Study to deepen the flavor and strengthen the salsa. You can read the Bible at home, but you will find a richer flavor is developed in the blend of studying scripture with other Christians, listening for the Holy Spirit and learning from each other. Bibles come in a wide variety; “Study Bibles” can be very helpful.
  • Serve the Salsa in Ministry each week. This could be helping to acolyte or arrange flowers, visiting someone who is sick, or serving a meal at a homeless shelter. Spiritual Salsa without this ingredient tends to spoil quickly.
  • Spiritual Salsa tastes horrible if you eat it alone. To prevent spoiling and to improve the salsa, you must give it away. Start with financial giving, and select a specific percentage of your income. All the best Spiritual Salsas use this important ingredient. Use only the brand that involves prayer and discernment for God’s direction; that will determine the amount you use (but don’t skimp).
  • Blend well, serve regularly, generously, and enjoy! Spiritual Salsa is for a fiesta!

And remember: you are the salt of the earth! You are the light of the world! God bless you always!

(Reprinted from the newsletter of Rev. Tom Pumphrey, rector of the Episcopal Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in East Cobb.) 

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