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Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time of togetherness, but too often families are traveling on the Sunday after the holiday and can't worship together.

So host an informal "Thanksgathering" on the Friday night of the week after Thanksgiving. Ask each family to bring a can of food to donate to a food bank. Provide name tags so no one is a stranger.

Begin with a brief worship time that includes favorite hymns and choruses, a children's message, and prayer for families' joys and concerns. Ask family members to tell favorite Thanksgiving stories, or invite children to tell what they're grateful for.

For a great time of fellowship, invite families to bring a snack or beverage that they're thankful to share. Families can also bring board games for all ages and set them up for everyone to enjoy. Charades is a fun game for several families to play together. Have a couple of easels set up so people can play Pictionary. Also set up an area with arts and crafts supplies for younger kids.

Encourage people to mingle and visit with one another. This is a great time for your family members to get to know their church family.

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