SHAMOKIN - Plans for an annual community Thanksgiving service, election of officers for the 2013 calendar year and discussion of several proposed projects were approved by the Shamokin Area Ministry of Churches during its November monthly meeting in Seventh Street Primitive Methodist Church.

The Rev. David Bylerly, president and pastor of Grace Lutheran church, was in charge.

The special worship service in observance of Thanksgiving Day will be held at 6 p.m. Sunday in the sanctuary of Seventh Street Primitive Methodist Church. The service will include scripture readings and a homily, with members of the ministerium participating, and music by a choir composed of vocalists from churches in the ministerium's geographic area. Vocalists planning to participate are asked to meet at the church at 5 p.m. for practice.

Newly elected officers for the coming year were announced. They are the Revs. Karen Fisher, president; David Wildoner, vice president; Sam Ballavia, secretary, and Alfred Bashore, treasurer. Fisher is pastor of St. John's United Methodist Church; Balavia, Christian and Missionary Alliance; Bashore, All Saints Lutheran, Kulpmont, and Wildoner, Seventh Street Primitive Methodist.

Churches affiliated with the ministerium will again participate in an annual gift-giving program sponsored for the Christmas season by LARC, a convenant of Lutheran, Angelican and Roman Catholic churches. Frank Stoshak, lay representative, said parishioners will be asked to bring gifts for needy children to their own church services. The gifts will be blessed during a special service at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, at SS Cyril and Methodius in Danville. All gifts received will be distributed to needy children in the area for the Christmas holiday.

The ministerium reported that area residents seeking assistance to pay for heating oil from the organization's emergency fund must apply through the pastors of their home parish. A one-time maximum of $150 is provided annually for applicants seeking assistance.

A proposal to obtain additional funds to maintain the emergency program is under consideration. The Rev. Zach Hopple reported that the plan is to sponsor a winter music benefit in late January at the Northumberland County Career and Arts Center. It will feature choirs and ensembles from area churches and schools. Additional information will be released later.

Manna for the Many, sponsored by the ministerium for families and individuals in need, is serving more than 700 clients each month, according to the Rev. Betty Ford, chairman of Manna's board of directors. She said there is always a need for donations of non-perishable food and financial assistance from the general public and business and civic organizations.

Rhonda Gilliom, of the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit's tutoring program, was guest speaker at the meeting. She reported a need for qualified instructors, especially in mathematics, to tutor people seeking their high school diplomas through GED tests. The tutors would serve three hours per week on a one-on-one basis.

She said 25 adults are currently enrolled to participate in the tutoring program.