EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - The 44th East Brunswick Interfaith Thanksgiving service was held Tuesday evening at the EB Jewish Center. Twelve Clergy members from their respective houses of worship participated in the evening of music and worship. The EB Cub Scout Pack 132 presented the flags and the EB area Girl Scouts led the congregation in the song, "Let There Be Peace on Earth". Rev. Erica Munoz from Aldersgate UMC and Cantor Andrew Edson from Temple B'nai Shalom sang together in their yearly tradition of " What a Wonderful World". Members from several EB Houses of Worship Choirs joined together for the choral anthem.
Mayor Brad Cohen presented the Thanksgiving Proclamation, welcomed Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin and Council member, Sharon Sullivan. He also invited those in attendance to give generously to the Charity fund designated to support the work of organizations in East Brunswick that care for the people of the community during our time of offering.
Prayers and songs were shared and lifted by the EB Clergy Council and the message of Thanksgiving was given by Pastor Thomas Wong of the Point Community Church. Pastor Wong shared a powerful message of peace and acceptance for those that are "different"! Taking the congregation into a brief moment of his life as a Chinese 7 year old boy being evacuated from Vietnam in the heart of the Vietnam war; he shared the struggle of being separated from his parents and seeking refuge in a foreign land- the United States. Finding parallels to the people in the book of Genesis and through the lens of the teachings of Jesus, Wong shared his story of being an immigrant in a foreign land and how the hospitality of a stranger impacted his life. Realizing that although the idea of Thanksgiving may not necessarily be a part of his history...his story is why Thanksgiving does and should matter to each of us. We are so blessed in our lives and there are so many who are seeking a place to come and be welcomed...a place to feel safe..and place to call home..even today.
[I] believe that our country has divided itself into an "us and them" which is not too different from Biblical days, Twelveexcept by now, we should have learned our lesson of what division and intolerance can do to a community...to a nation. As people created in the image of God..regardless of race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, language, class...we should all be welcomed at the table. Our job as people of faith is to build longer tables..not higher walls.
That is what this service of Thanksgiving is all about. Extending a hand of hospitality, welcoming the stranger and building a longer table, right here in the East Brunswick community. Certainly something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.