November 22, 2013 - 12:00 AM

The Iola Area Ministerial Association will have its community Thanksgiving service at Calvary United Methodist Church on Sunday, starting at 6:30 p.m.
Tony Godfrey, pastor at Harvest Baptist, 401 S. Walnut, will be guest speaker. Godfrey said he will structure his sermon around society’s changing perception of Thanksgiving.
“We talk about being thankful for materialistic things,” he said. “It’s important to be thankful for the body of Christ and other believers.”
Godfrey said he is happy to be able to speak to the community, which will give him the opportunity to share Harvest Baptist’s mission: “Go, Bring, Build.”
“We ‘go’ where the people are, ‘bring’ people to the body of Christ and ‘build’ relationships,” he said.
Godfrey started his own journey when he moved to Iola in 1990 from Syracuse. His mother had moved to Iola because she had a job at the hospital. He said it was at that time he was trying to discover who he was. An invitation to church was transformational.
“I never really grew my relationship in Christ,” he recalls. “It wasn’t until I turned 20 and met my future wife, Kara, that I came to Harvest Baptist.”
Fellow parishioners at Harvest Baptist encouraged Godfrey to follow his passion to become a pastor. He attended Shepard’s School of Ministry in Kansas City. Not long after graduating he moved to Whitehouse, Texas, a suburb of Tyler, to preach. Tony and his wife Kara have two children, Kayton, 11, and Kale, 7.
“God brought us back here in 2009,” he said. He became associate pastor under David Shelby.
Godfrey said God had given him a vision for the direction of the church and the two men traded roles.
“The church has grown and individuals are growing,” he said.
The service Sunday night will be about an hour long. Calvary United is at the corner of Jackson and Walnut streets.

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