About 200 people attended the thanksgiving Sabbath service and afternoon programme on the 21st of October 2023 in Glasgow. The event was organised by the orchestra of children from the Watford Romanian church choir in partnership with Glasgow church.
“Thanksgiving is the healthiest of human emotion according to psychologists,” Pastor Claudiu Popescu said as he was setting the tone for the afternoon concert and testimonies. The date for the thanksgiving Sabbath was not chosen by chance. Pr Popescu mentioned that, within Adventist communities, October has been traditionally regarded as a month dedicated to thanksgiving. Drawing from Luke 17, Pr Popescu shared a message that underscored Jesus' expectation of gratitude. Just as Jesus healed all the lepers, yet only one returned to express thanks and was made whole, so too do our expressions of gratitude contribute to our spiritual, physical, and mental well-being.
Pr Popescu added, “Gratitude produces more positive emotional energy than any other attitude in life.” A thankful attitude draws us closer to God and to those around us but if we don’t cultivate the spirit of gratitude, our hearts will become harder. Some factors such as pride, selfishness, jealousy, comparing ourselves to others, greediness and carelessness will steal away our attitude of being grateful. However, if we learn to adopt an attitude of thankfulness, our lives will be totally changed.
After expanding on how to express our thankfulness to God, the Pastor identified three main areas in which our thanksgiving should be expanded:
- The blessings of life as we learn to count our blessings.(2 Corinthians 9:8)
- The burdens of life as we give thanks to God in all circumstances.(1 Thessalonians 5:18)
- The benefits of life as we thank God for being alive and benefitting from life. (Psalm 100:4-5)
Right before the sermon, Unami and Leonor, respectively 10 and 11, both from the Watford group, praised God with their angelic voices as they presented the song of meditation, giving a foretaste of the afternoon programme.
The thanksgiving session was a pure delight and blessing, many attendees testified. The blending of praise and worship, special items, testimonies, poem and orchestra performances brought an additional meaning to this very special thanksgiving session. Adina Lupu, the event planner, graciously and exquisitely coordinated the concert.
The Watford Children’s choir members, aged 9 to 15 and beautifully dressed with their uniform, praised God with songs and pieces of music with instruments such as violin, flute, piano and their voices. Their performances were alternated between series of special items, testimonies and a poem. The Ukrainian choir from the SDA Paisley church was invited to the celebration. Dressed up in their notable uniform, they interpreted many beautiful melodies in the honour of the Most High God.
Rich and strong testimonies generated the conviction that as we obey and trust in God, life will be beautiful, the future secure, and there will be capacity to overcome the challenges that cross our paths.
One of the powerful testimonies was from Lorena Mabhena, the music teacher and choirmistress of the Watford group. She said to be a living proof that “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called,”. Lorena, an English teacher, who knew nothing about music, felt the need and received the divine inspiration to accompany the children of her church in their desire of using their artistic musical talents to draw closer to God. God helped her to acquire all the skills and qualifications needed for the purpose; she then launched the orchestra project.
Lorena talked about how special this event was for them as it was their very first concert outside of Watford and thanked God for His guidance in this project. She also announced other events in the future with the aim of raising some funds to buy a bus for the children in need in Romania. The children of Watford church not only use their talents to praise God and inspire countless people to turn to Christ, but also to raise funds and help other children. For those who wish to make a donation to the children’s choir project, please use the following details: Watford Romanian Seventh Day Adventist Church; 33175235; 20-03-84.
In his closing remarks, Pr Popescu said: “Music is a beautiful universal language that has the power to connect people from every part of the world. Prayer and music bring us together regardless of our differences and diversities.” The church was bursting at the seams; numerous nationalities and languages were represented. “The fellowship lunch was abundant and excellent with lots of variety,” church member Milliam Kasowanjete said. The Glasgow Women’s Ministry Leader praised God for the rich and diverse buffet provided for all to enjoy. She expressed her gratitude to all the women involved in preparing food: “Well done, ladies! Indeed, there is power in unity,” she concluded.
The tangible presence of the divine created a positive atmosphere on that memorable thanksgiving service.