The first Thanksgiving was held in 1621 by the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians to celebrate the colony's first successful harvest.
"The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth," a painting by Jennie Brownscombe, shows a man standing and thanking God for bringing the 53 surviving settlers through the grueling year, while the other Pilgrims and Indians sit nearby.
Several churches in the area will follow the tradition by offering services of thanks on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning. They include:
6 p.m. Wednesday Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, 313 Tokay Ave. Divine Liturgy dedicated to the entrance of the Virgin Mary to the temple. (209) 522-7694.
6:30 p.m. Wednesday St. Francis Anglican Church, 915 E. Main St., Turlock. Quiet contemplative service for spiritual renewal and to give thanks. (209) 632-0788.
7 p.m. Wednesday Shelter Cove Community Church, 4242 Coffee Road, Modesto. "You Can Change Your World ... With Thanksgiving." Includes music, Communion and child care for infants through age 5. (209) 567-3200.
7 p.m. Wednesday Modesto Covenant Church, 916 Floyd Ave. Includes children's choir, adult choir and orchestra. Offering goes toward Covenant World Relief, which offers disaster relief and community development, especially in Third World countries. (209) 527-4110.
7 p.m. Wednesday Big Valley Grace Community Church, 4040 Tully Road, Modesto. One-hour service appropriate for all ages; share brief praise, hear how God has been faithful to others, participate in Communion. (209) 577-1604.
9 a.m. Thursday Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 640 Minaret Ave., Turlock. Traditional Thanksgiving songs, focus on thanks for blessings received as individuals, community and country. (209) 667-7712.
Other upcoming faith-based events include:
ARTS AND MUSIC
'MESSIAH' SINGALONG 4 p.m. today, Trinity United Presbyterian Church,1600 Carver Road, Modesto. Fifth annual event allows singers of all levels to perform Handel's "Messiah." In addition to the choruses, participants will sing traditionally solo numbers. Ginger Covert Colla will conduct; Grace Brummel will accompany on the organ; soloists include Linda Carter and Dawn Peterson, sopranos, Jennifer Champeaux, alto, Bruce Merchant, tenor, and Richard Colla, bass. Free. (209) 765-6388.
HANDEL'S 'MESSIAH' 3 p.m. Dec. 2, Immanuel Christian Reformed Church, Fourth and Orange Streets, Ripon. Performance of Handel's "Messiah" by Ripon Oratorio Society. Free. (209) 599-6150.
GRIEFSHARE 6:30-8 p.m. Mondays, beginning Nov. 26, Modesto Covenant Church fireside room, 913 Floyd Ave. 13-week DVD series includes topics to help participants deal with pain of losing a loved one. $15, includes workbook; scholarships available. (209) 527-4110.
NONPROFIT FUND-RAISING 8:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Nov. 29, Martin Peterson Event Center,720 12th St., Modesto. Sponsored by City Ministry Network, two guest speakers, Barry McLeish from Madison, Wis., and John Peterson from Denver, will help nonprofit ministries learn how to "raise resources in any economy." $25 per person, $15 additional people from same group. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
GUADALUPE PROCESSION Noon on Dec. 2, Saint Mary's Church, 203 E. Washington St., Stockton. Most parishes, including those in Modesto, Ceres, Riverbank, etc., will send a float to this 32nd annual event. Route ends at Stockton Arena, 248 W. Fremont St., where there will be a program beginning at 1:30 p.m. that includes a performance by Mariachi Juvenil Chávez, apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe and a closing Mass at 3 p.m. led by Bishop Stephen Blaire.(209) 466-0636, ext. 628.
Send events by noon Tuesday to email@example.com or fax to (209) 578-2207.