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From 1987 through 1997, I was involved in a vibrant Ministerial Alliance that included an Independent Christian Church, an Assembly of God, a Southern Baptist Church, a Disciples Church, a Methodist Church, and the Presbyterian Church I served in Hamilton, Illinois.

In late 2004, I arrived in Aztec, New Mexico, where the Ministerial Alliance had all but disappeared. Since then the Roman Catholic priest joined me in working together. Over the years that group has grown to a Southern Baptist Church, a Disciples Congregation, an Assembly of God Church, Methodist Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Presbyterian Church I serve.

In both Ministerial gatherings, the effort was two fold: gather to worship together at important dates like Easter and Thanksgiving as well as serving the needs of those in the community who have not done as well as we have.

David Gambrell

From Mary Beth Jones of Northminster Presbyterian Church in Troy, MI, via Facebook; here's a link to their community's interfaith partnership: http://charterforcompassion.org/learn/partners/troy-interfaith-group/

David Gambrell

Thanks, Dwain. Glad to hear you've been able to develop this growing ecumenical partnership in Aztec, NM. Blessings in your ministry!

Jim Kitchens

The Interfaith Council of San Francisco (of which Calvary Presbyterian is a charter member) has held an interfaith Thanksgiving service for several years. It includes non-Abrahamic traditions as well as Jewish, Christian, and Muslim. The service was held at Calvary last year and will be held at Third Baptist, one of the strongest African American congregations in the city, this Thanksgiving. We are also hosting the Interfaith Amigos, a Christian pastor, rabbi, and Sufi sheikh at Calvary on the weekend of November 21-22 as the culmination of an interfaith series in which a Buddhist pastor, a rabbi, a Roman Catholic deacon, and an imam will both participate in a worship service and present a seminar over the four preceding Sundays.

David Gambrell

Thanks, Jim. That's an impressive line up! I'd be interested in hearing more about how the various leaders participate in worship, the topics of their seminars, etc. Sounds like a fascinating program. Blessings!

Jim Kitchens

Last Sunday, a pastor from the Buddhist Church of America chanted a call to worship (English translation divided) and read from a document that includes a Buddhist version of the Golden Rule. His seminar was focused on noting similarities and differences between the two traditions ("No, nirvana is NOT the same thing as heaven.") This Sunday, a nearby rabbi and cantor help lead our worship. The cantor will sing a call to prayer and chant the Yigdal and a psalm. The rabbi will read the lesson for the day and preach. We're also designing the service to pick back up the old UP tradition of singing the psalms. The rabbi's seminar will focus on a midrashic reading of his sermon text (letting people see how the oral Torah interacts with the written one). We're still planning the other weeks, but a Roman Catholic deacon will join us on the third Sunday (a little easier to weave him into liturgical leadership) and a Muslim imam will chant calls to prayer on the fourth.

Laura Fothergill

The Coral Gables Interfaith group in South Miami/Coral Gables, Florida has been meeting maybe 15+yrs? Every year a different faith community hosts the interfaith service. This year it is at my church. Faith communities include: Coral Gables UMC, Riviera Presbyterian, Temple Judea, Coral Gables Congretational and guests from the Muslim community.


Joanne Whitt

The First Presbyterian Church of San Anselmo has participated in an ecumenical Thanksgiving Day service with our two closest church neighbors - St. Anselm Catholic Church and St. John's Episcopal Church - for over 50 years. We take turns hosting the service in our sanctuary, and rotate the preaching. Last year we worshiped at St. Anselm, and I preached - the Catholic women always communicate that they are grateful to see a woman in the pulpit! This year, we'll worship in our sanctuary, and the rector of St. John's will preach. That means we'll get to sing our beloved Protestant Thanksgiving hymns ("We Gather Together," "Come, Ye Thankful People, Come," "Now Thank We All, Our God"). This year and last, this service has been especially meaningful because all three of our congregations use our fellowship hall to host our county's rotating winter homeless shelter. We not only share our gratitude to God in worship, but also in service.

Gary L De Witt

In the American setting, Thanksgiving Day is first of all a national civic holiday. Acknowledging this opens the door to many wonderful opportunities in a diverse community. Communities of faith readily embrace this holiday because of our recognized need to express thanksgiving to our creator.
In my community of Chatham NY the Tuesday of Thanksgiving week is the occasion when our community's great diversity of faith is able to come together as a community of faith: the joint mainline Christian community of Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian USA, Reformed Church in America,United Church of Christ, United Methodist, AME, and Episcopal is represented, along with the Quaker Friends, the Synogogue, Islaam, Hindu, and Buddist houses of faith. Our annual inter-faith gathering continues to grow every year - a wonder-filled opportunity for all of us to bring something to the whole, in which diverse voices of faith express thanksgiving together through music and song, the shofar, instruments, readings, prayers, and Quaker silence.

David Gambrell

Thanks, all, for these fascinating and encouraging reports! Blessings in your ministry.

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