The sunshine and beaches of Far North Queensland are good reasons to give thanks to the Creator, but upwards of 25 churches in Mackay are going a step further this weekend.
Local Christians will rally for Mackay’s annual thanksgiving community festival on Saturday. It is an event that festival coordinator Martine Mahler says is happening because “God wants us to create a culture of thanks-living”.
“It’s a wonderful effort of unity,” Ms Mahler says. “It’s just been a lot of fun and a great way of blessing the community because God has blessed us.”
The event is part of the National Day of Thanksgiving, which will be held across the country on 31 May. The church network Mackay Churches Together will host the free regional event, which is being sponsored by the local council, industry and businesses. There will be rides, entertainment, food and family activities.
Ms Mahler, a member of the church Freedom House Ministries and organiser of Thanks-Living Mackay, says creating a culture of thankfulness is not just for one day in the year but should be an ongoing process.
“It doesn’t just happen by saying thank you to someone – it’s about making a determined effort to be grateful. “
The organisers of this year’s National Day of Thanksgiving are encouraging churches and individuals to give thanks to God for their neighbours, as well as people who work in the transport and travel industries, such as train drivers, pilots, couriers and travel agents.
Churches, schools and community groups will hold community events this Saturday and are being encouraged to be creative in their outreach activities. Churches are being encouraged to organise prayer and worship events and to include a specific thanksgiving segment in their Sunday services.
Around 1,600 communities and 250,000 people participated in the National Day of Thanksgiving events across Australia last year. The day had its inception in 2003 when the Australian Prayer Network took the idea to leaders in Canberra. The then Governor-General Michael Jeffery launched the project in 2004 and former Prime Minister John Howard encouraged all Australians to get involved.
“The National Day of Thanksgiving recognises the hard work of Australians who serve their communities and make a difference to the lives of others,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott said of this year’s celebration in a statement.
The Bible has much to say about giving thanks. Organisers are encouraging Australians to look at some of these scriptures: 1 Timothy 2:1-2; Ephesians 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Psalms 136:1-3; Psalm 100:4; Psalm 95:1-3; Psalm 79:13; Psalm 75:1; Psalm 30:11-12; 2 Chronicles 3:17 and Revelation 4:9-11.More