To­gether in thanks

In­ter­faith ser­vice unites peo­ple of all re­li­gions

Newark Post - - FRONT PAGE - By JOSH SHAN­NON jshan­[email protected]­pub.com

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.”

NEWARK POST PHOTO BY JOSH SHAN­NON

Ne­wark­ers of all faiths joined to­gether for an in­ter­faith Thanks­giv­ing ser­vice at Newark United Methodist Church on Tues­day night.

NEWARK POST PHOTO BY JOSH SHAN­NON

Rabbi Ja­cob Lieber­man, of Tem­ple Beth El, speaks at the in­ter­faith ser­vice.

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