Together in thanks
Interfaith service unites people of all religions
Newarkers of all faiths gathered together Tuesday evening in a show of unity and to give thanks.
Newark United Methodist Church hosted the annual interfaith Thanksgiving service, which each year rotates between different churches in the area. The interfaith service was first held in 1989 and became an annual event beginning in 1992.
Nearly a dozen clergy members representing different faiths and denominations spoke at Tuesday’s service.
“Our thanksgiving to God for what we’ve been gifted doesn’t rely on what we wear on our heads or the things we wear on our necks, the color of our skin or the traditions we come from,” the Rev. Linda Gunderson, pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, said. “To love God, to love one another as ourselves, is to have thanksgiving joined in love and to have love joined in thanksgiving.”
Elder Blaine Hackett, pastor of St. John African Methodist Church, said it’s important for people of different faiths to come together and celebrate what unites them.
“We need the love of God to break the barriers that separate us in the world,” Hackett said. “Sundays between the hours of 11 and 1 are most segregated times in America as we all worship our God in our own particular way.”
Rabbi Jacob Lieberman, of Temple Beth El, said this year’s interfaith service was particularly poignant for him in light of the recent mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue. He pointed out that many of the people in the audience Tuesday also participated in a vigil the day after the shooting in order to show solidarity with the local Jewish community.
“When we stand together with one another, whether it is a response to tragedy or a joining together for a joyous holiday celebration, we sow seeds for a future that embraces our differences and affirms our common humanity,” Lieberman said. “Take this moment in. The presence of all these people of different faiths, traditions, ethnicities and backgrounds, we are planting seeds for the upcoming harvest.”
Newarkers of all faiths joined together for an interfaith Thanksgiving service at Newark United Methodist Church on Tuesday night.
Rabbi Jacob Lieberman, of Temple Beth El, speaks at the interfaith service.