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TALLAHASSEE –Construction workers at the Tallahassee Temple got an early Thanksgiving last year when members of the Crawfordville Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provided a holiday meal for the 90-plus members of the construction crew.
The act of service was spearheaded by ward member Angie Rowley.
“One of the members of our ward is supervisor of the electrical crew and asked for volunteer help,” she explained. “I knew I could do some work until school started, so I volunteered as a laborer for his crew.”
For two months, Rowley worked 10 hours a day for four days a week.
In October, she had an idea while watching General Conference — a twice yearly global broadcast in which Church leaders from across the world address the members. While pondering the words and instruction presented, Rowley had the thought that feeding her crew lunch would be a nice service.
Having catering experience in college, she “whipped together a lunch” and served it to about 30 people. “Then I had the thought, ‘Why not do Thanksgiving dinner and get the ward involved?’” she said.
She asked ward leaders for their reactions. “They loved it, so we were good to go,” Rowley said. “We passed around a signup sheet, and people began signing up for different dishes and to serve at the dinner. Ward members were very enthusiastic and excited to help!”
Held at the Thomasville Road chapel, the event hosted nearly 100 people. The menu, Rowley said, was turkey, fried chicken, pulled pork, “funeral potatoes,” dressing (called “stuffing,” she noted, in Ohio, where she is from originally), fresh homemade rolls, and various side dishes and desserts.
“The last thing we wanted was to run out of food,” she said with a laugh, “so we kept circulating the signup sheet to increase the number of dishes. We ended up with about twice as much as we needed, and our guests went through for seconds.”
“The whole goal was to show God’s love through kindness to those who don’t realize we’re brothers and sisters,” she said. “Everyone who came felt the Spirit, members and non-members alike.”
She reflected that her initial prompting to do the smaller lunch was divinely inspired. Accomplishing that step gave her confidence to carry out the larger dinner.
“I love how our Father prepares each of us to do His work and share His love,” she said, adding that while she might have coordinated the event, “He was in charge the whole time. It was a beautiful Thanksgiving celebration in which we gave thanks to God for His temple and for each other.”