Thanksgiving is a national day of celebration for Americans, the Rev. Pete Warner of Greenmount United Methodist Church said.
"To me, it's not a religious holiday, but a way of saying 'Thank you, God' for all of the things he's given us."
The first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Plymouth Pilgrims in 1621 after Massachusetts Gov. William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving and prayer for the colonists' first harvest in their new home.
Although the New England area began the tradition of giving thanks after the annual harvest came in, the day did not become a national holiday until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln decreed a day of Thanksgiving.
"I think Thanksgiving is a day we're called on to stop our productivity and reflect on what has been received," said the Rev. Godfrey Jarabak of Faith Lutheran Church in Eldersburg. "It's a time to jar our memories and take stock of what God has given us."
Most churches conduct a special Thanksgiving worship service. Some, such as the Union Bridge Ministerium's community worship, had their service last Sunday. A number of others have services on Thanksgiving eve or Thanksgiving Day.
Here is a sampling of Thanksgiving services around the county today:
* The Mount Airy Ministerium will have a community worship service at 7:30 p.m. at St. James Episcopal Church, 206 N. Main St.
Participating churches include the Full Gospel Church, Locust Grove Church of the Brethren, and Ridgeville, Howard Chapel, Prospect-Marvin Chapel, Warren Chapel, Mount Olive, Morgan Chapel and Brandenburg UM churches.
* The New Windsor Ministerium will sponsor a community service at 7:45 p.m. at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, 200 Main St.
All New Windsor area churches, as well as several service organizations, have been invited to participate in the service.
* The Caring and Sharing Ministries of Taneytown will have a community service at 7:30 p.m. at Messiah United Methodist Church, 25 Middle St.
Participating churches are St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Trinity Lutheran, Grace and Baust United Church of Christ, Piney Creek Brethren, Taneytown Presbyterian and Taneytown Baptist.
* The Northeast Social Action Program will sponsor a community service at 7:30 p.m. at St. John's United Methodist Church, 1205 N. Main St., Hampstead.
Participating churches include Greenmount and Grace UM churches, St.
George's Episcopal, St. Mark's Lutheran Church of Snydersburg and St.
Mark's Lutheran Church of Hampstead.
* Faith Baptist Church will offer an ecumenical community service to the public at 10 a.m. at the Hampstead Elementary School at 3735 Shiloh Road.
* Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, 3184 Church St., Manchester, will conduct a community service at 7:30 p.m.
Participating churches are St. Bartholomew's Catholic Church, the Manchester United Methodist Church, St. George's Episcopal, the Manchester United Church of Christ Parish, the North Carroll Lutheran Parish and Alesia Free Methodist Church.
* The sanctuary choir of Grace Bible Church, 3250 Charmil Drive, Manchester, will perform a mini-musical, "Great is Thy Faithfulness" at a 7:15 p.m. worship service.
* St. Mary's Lutheran Church, Route 97 at Mayberry Road, will conduct a combined worship with St. Mary's United Church of Christ at 7:30 p.m.
* Deer Park United Methodist Church, 2200 Sykesville Road, will conduct a combined worship service with Trinity Lutheran Church of Smallwood at 7:30 p.m.
* Westminster Baptist Church, 354 Crest Lane, will have a worship and testimony service at 7 p.m. Worshippers are asked to bring a canned food in each hand to go to the Rescue Mission for Christmas baskets for the needy.
* Faith Lutheran Church on Liberty Road, Eldersburg, will give special thanks for its new sanctuary at a worship service at 7:30 p.m. Communion will be given.
* St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Liberty Road, Eldersburg, will celebrate Mass at 7:30 p.m. The church will have an 8:30 a.m. Mass tomorrow at its Sykesville sanctuary, Sandosky Road and Main Street.
* Oakland United Methodist Church, 5969 Mineral Hill Road, will conduct a combined worship with Flohrville United Methodist at 7:30 p.m.
* Holy Spirit Lutheran Church, 2205 Old Liberty Road, will have a worship service at 7:30 p.m.
* Ebenezer United Methodist Church, 4901 Woodbine Road, will have a Thanksgiving Eve service at 7:30 p.m.
* St. John's Roman Catholic Church on Monroe Street, Westminster, will have a liturgy at 9 a.m. and a noon Mass. Those attending are asked to bring a non-perishable food offering for Carroll County Food Sunday.
* St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, 7609 Main St., Sykesville, will offer holy communion during its worship service at 10 a.m.