Helping at the church

Jonathan Griesse, pastor at the Cornerstone Methodist Church, takes time before his Advent Bible study class to help Linda Hendrix (left) and Kay Holden set up for their United Methodist Women’s group’s holiday party on Wednesday morning at the Cornerstone Methodist Church in Jonesboro.

JONESBORO — For people who have experienced personal loss, the holiday season may seem difficult.

That’s why the Cornerstone Methodist Church wants to help those people find hope.

The church will be hosting a special service, called the “Hope and Healing Holiday Service,” tailored to help residents who may feel down-hearted.

“We believe this is the first service of its kind in our area,” Karan Summitt, an educator at St. Bernards Community Health, said in an email on Wednesday. “It has been well-received in other areas and seems especially appropriate coming on the heels of the difficult losses of the past 21 months.”

Cornerstone Pastor Jonathan Griesse and the Rev. Dan Freeman, of Kitchen Street First Baptist Church, will facilitate the service.

“The community has been through a lot in the last couple years,” Griesse said on Wednesday morning. “Everyone has been touched by grief in some way, which can make the holiday season especially hard, and we want to give them the greatest gift of all this season, Jesus Christ.”

Griesse said it’s an opportunity for everyone in the community to feel loved and encouraged, no matter their religion or cultural preference.

“We are all God’s children, so I asked my friend Dan Freeman to help facilitate the service with me,” Griesse said.

Many area residents have experienced tragic things this past year – such as the death of a loved one, a financial hardship or separation from loved ones because of the pandemic, which makes them feel anxious and say or do things that they wouldn’t normally do.

“This service will be a little different,” Griesse said. “There will be music and a short sermon, but it will be slower paced as a time for reflection. It is designed to be calming and a time of peace.”

“We want it to be a service where we can be quiet and still, where we can just be in the presence of God because that is where a real difference is made,” Griesse added. “We want people to know they are not alone and to be able to find rest in the Lord’s presence.”

The “Hope and Healing Holiday Service” will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 21, at the Cornerstone Methodist Church, 1910 Disciple Drive in Jonesboro.