NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ -- The thirteenth annual New Providence-Berkeley Heights Interfaith Thanksgiving Service occurred on Monday evening, Nov. 25, at Faith Lutheran Church in New Providence.
The participating worship communities were the Congregation Ohr Shalom-Summit Jewish Community Center, Faith Lutheran Church, Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, Little Flower Roman Catholic Church, Our Lady of Peace Roman Catholic Church, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Union Village United Methodist Church, Westminster Presbyterian Church.
The service began with a welcome by Rev. Jane McCready of Faith Lutheran, which was followed by greetings from Mayor Al Morgan of New Providence, who emphasized the importance of this traditional service to the community.
The Thanksgiving homily was offered by Dr. M. Ali Chaudry of the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge. He focused on the two parts of the word, Thanksgiving; saying that thanks for blessings should be expressed by giving to persons in need.
The liturgy of the service consisted of prayers, readings and hymns. The music featured a large interfaith choir, which was led by Liz Mancinelli, Music Director of Little Flower. The organist was George Moser of Faith Lutheran.
The offering was given to Community Hope for Veterans, a program that provides services to veterans at Lyons Hospital. Community Hope is supported by the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge.
An open letter from the New Providence – Berkeley Heights Interfaith Clergy to the Community was included in the program of the service that was given to all congregants. Some of the words in the letter follow:
“Let There Be More Love, Deeper Understanding and Greater Gratitude for the Blessing of Diversity in Our Community.
We believe that the ethic of love and compassion is the heart of our Jewish-Christian-Islamic-Sikh-Bha’i heritages.
We believe that each human being, as a child of God, is entitled to be treated with respect, dignity and understanding.
We pledge to realize this vision among ourselves and to help our community become more welcoming to all.”
In the photo at the top of the page are people who participated in the service. From left are Mayor Al Morgan of New Providence, Dr. M. Ali Chaudry of Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, Alina Murad of Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, Rev. Matthew Dooley of Little Flower Roman Catholic Church, Maham Sharif of Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, Rev. William Mahon of Our Lady of Peace Roman Catholic Church, Rev. George Betz of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Rev. Dr. Daniel Gunn of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Rabbi Avi Friedman of Congregation Ohr Shalom/Summit Jewish Community Center, Rev. Andrew Prachar of Little Flower Roman Catholic Church, Rev. Jane McCready of Faith Lutheran Church, Rev. Rachael Phelps of Union Village United Methodist Church.