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Banquet speaker pushes community involvement

The Tri-County Community Action agency held its 46th annual banquet Friday night at the Bright Leaf Forum in South Boston with the Rev. Dr Michael Parnell as guest speaker.

Parnell serves as pastor of Beth Car Baptist Church in Halifax.

Parnell, who delivered his speech to the crowd following a catered buffet dinner, outlined the importance of getting out in the community and making a difference.

“I was called to work in the community. To give my gifts, talents and abilities for the sake of those who may never attend a single service in my church,” said Parnell.

He shared stories including when he served at his last church how he started a prison ministry.

“There is something about getting involved in the community that provides for us encounters and opportunities that we find nowhere else. There are things that happen there that cannot be found anywhere else,” said Parnell.

He also shared a story of a young girl who was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a storm and each starfish she came to she would pick it up and throw it back into the ocean. After doing this for a period of time, a man approached her and said, “Little girl why are you doing this? Look at this beach, you can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!” 

To which the young girl answered after a few minutes by picking up another starfish and throwing it back into the ocean. “Well I made a difference to that one,” she said.

Parnell closed by asking attendees to make a difference, get out of the safety zone.

“My challenge is to you. Who in this community will you make a difference for?...It will change their lives, and it will change yours,” Parnell concluded.