Prayer service unites denominations

Rachel Mummey/The Herald
Joel Ginter of Ferdinand, 11, right, sang out of the hymnal book alongside his twin brother, Joshua, their parents, Diane and Mark, and brothers Matthew, 14, John, 18, and Luke, 14, during the Thanksgiving prayer service at Holy Family Catholic Church in Jasper on Tuesday. The Dubois County Clergy Association hosted the annual ecumenical prayer service, during which seven clergy members together delivered the sermon.

Herald Staff Writer

JASPER — Some were Catholic. Others were Lutheran. A few were Methodist.

But on Tuesday, they came to worship together.

More than 100 people lined the pews at Holy Family Catholic Church for the Dubois County Clergy Association’s annual Thanksgiving prayer service, an ecumenical gathering in which pastors from seven local churches took part.

“It’s great that people of different persuasions are coming together to share Thanksgiving,” Father John Boeglin said before the service.

In his sermon, Fr. Boeglin, pastor of Holy Family parish, spoke of how pilgrims and Native Americans came together to celebrate a bountiful harvest at the first Thanksgiving in 1621. Tuesday’s service was meant to replicate that spirit of unity by bringing different denominations together in God’s name.

“All of us, regardless of our color, race or creed, need to thank the Lord together,” Fr. Boeglin said.

Rachel Mummey/The Herald
Audrey Weisheit of Ireland, left, held her 15-year-old daughter, Rylee, during the Thanksgiving prayer service at Holy Family Catholic Church on Tuesday.

Other pastors involved in the service were Pastor Tim Kraemer of Christ Lutheran Church in Haysville, Pastor Adam Ruschau of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Jasper, Pastor Larry Van Camp of Shiloh United Methodist Church in Jasper, Pastor Jane Hillman of Trinity United Church of Christ in Jasper, Pastor David Darling of St. James Lutheran Church in Holland and Pastor Catherine Burnette of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Otwell.

“Even though we may have different denominational leanings and beliefs, we still are able to come together and find a commonality, which is Jesus Christ,” Pastor Catherine said. “That’s what these (services) really are about.”

That’s also what the Dubois County Clergy Association is about — “finding a way to come together and put aside our differences and look at our similarities,” said Pastor Catherine, who chairs the association.

Any church in the county is welcome to be a part of the association, but not every church is involved. The location of the Thanksgiving service rotates each year. In 2012, it was celebrated at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Jasper.

Pastor Larry, who became pastor at Shiloh United Methodist Church this summer, said ecumenical services carry an added significance.

“It’s just nice for the faith community to come together,” he said. “My attitude is that we have a lot more in common than the differences that we focus on too often.”

Rachel Mummey/The Herald
Lori Murphy of Jasper held her 3-year-old daughter, Ann, on her lap while glancing down at the hymnal book held by her son Matthew, 8, during the Thanksgiving prayer service at Holy Family Catholic Church in Jasper on Tuesday.

Sarah Sergesketter attends the Thanksgiving service each year. She belongs to Trinity United Church of Christ and has played the organ at ecumenical services in years past.

“It reminds you to be thankful, and it’s worshipping with others who are thankful,” Sergesketter said. “It brings you closer to realizing why we should be thankful.”

Audrey Weisheit, who belongs to St. John’s Lutheran Church, also is a regular attendee of the annual gathering. She came with her mother, Ruth, and 15-year-old daughter, Rylee.

“It’s a time to be thankful for your family, so we come as a family,” Weisheit said.

Her church won’t have a Thanksgiving service this year, so the family decided to come to Holy Family. Weisheit said the service was “amazing,” noting that the sermon “hit home.”

Mark and Diane Ginter, who belong to the Holy Family parish, came to give thanks. They brought their five sons: John, 18; Matthew and Luke, 14; and Joel and Joshua, 11.

“I have so much to be thankful for,” Diane said.

“The beauty of all that I have is a gift,” she added. “It’s all a gift.”

Contact Tony Raap at

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