The Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, held during the week before to Thanksgiving, rotates its home each year between the participating congregations. First held at Temple Israel in 1995, the service provides an opportunity for members of different faiths to come together as a community and celebrate the similarities between the religions.
“The Thanksgiving service gives us an opportunity to stand together as proud Americans, regardless of religion, to celebrate this great country of ours,” Rabbi Aryeh Azriel said. “It is a chance to reflect on our nation and to not take for granted being a part of it.”
This year’s Thanksgiving service is being held at First United Methodist Church, 7020 Cass St., across the street from Temple Israel, on Sunday, November 18 at 5 p.m.
“The service is very important to our congregation,” said Rev. Dr. Jane Florence, the senior pastor at First United Methodist. “It’s something we look forward all year long. We really value the interfaith community and this Thanksgiving service is a great way for us to show other people, and to demonstrate, that we do believe we’re all in this together.”
The service will include music and songs from a combined choir made up of members of the various participating congregations, including Temple Israel’s Kol Rina. Temple Israel members will also blow the shofar and Rabbi Azriel will give this year’s sermon about a Spiritual Drought.
The Interfaith Thanksgiving Service has also previously been held at Dundee Presbyterian Church, First Christian Church and last year’s host, St. Margaret Mary’s Parish. Temple Israel is scheduled to host next year’s service in its new building.
Monetary donations and non-perishable food will also be collected for Together, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing homelessness and assisting those in need.
“We must think about the people who will not have a turkey on their plate this year,” Rabbi Azriel said. “It is important to reflect on the plight of immigrants or the poor. We must remember that it won’t be a joyous holiday for those who are in need.”