Posted: November 30, 2020
By: Anne Korfas, Prevent Child Abuse NC Annual Giving Manager 

The holidays are looking a lot different this year, but that is not stopping congregants at St. Stephen A.M.E. Church in Wilmington, North Carolina, from working together to build a stronger community within New Hanover County. Reverend Thomas O. Nixon noted that he started a Thanksgiving Day worship service 25 years ago, a tradition he has brought to every church, with the purpose of bringing to light what the day should truly reflect – giving thanks and helping others in need within the community. During the service, congregants are invited to participate in an offering dedicated to a specific need.

“The offering has never been kept to be used by the church, but is given to a community organization that I feel is serving the community for the greater good…..I think it helps to keep the real meaning and purpose of that day intact.”

After meeting with Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina’s (PCANC) Partnership Engagement Manager, Tracey O’Neal, to learn more about a Connections Matter training and the work PCANC does in strengthening parents and children through prevention, Reverend Nixon decided that this year’s Thanksgiving service would be dedicated to the families of North Carolina. PCANC will be the recipient of this year’s offering.

“I felt within my spirit that I wanted to be involved in some way and to bring my congregation along with me.”

While the Connections Matter training is temporarily put-on hold for St. Stephen due to COVID-19, their desire to do something together to build a supportive New Hanover County is not. Along with their virtual “pass the plate” during Zoom worship, the congregation is involved in several other New Hanover County programs dedicated to helping their neighbors.

“I believe that the church’s greatest ministry is not within the four walls of the building but beyond the four walls. Regardless of how much we are engaged in, there is much more to do. Every church that I have pastored, I have made it my priority that we be a part of the community that we serve.”

During this season of giving and gratitude, we are so grateful to the congregation of St. Stephen and Reverend Thomas Nixon.  While there are many things right now that we are unable to do, St. Stephen knows that they can come together to make child abuse prevention a priority.

YOU CAN Prevent Child Abuse, North Carolina!