SPRINGFIELD, NJ - With Thanksgiving just days away, the Springfield Interfaith Clergy Association hosted their annual interdenominational service. According to assorted members of the clergy in Springfield, it has taken place for almost 30 years around Thanksgiving each year.
This year, the service was held at St. James the Apostle, a Catholic Church next door to Florence M. Gaudineer Middle School. Each year, a different congregation plays host to the event. For Father Joe Barbone, the pastor at St. James, the interfaith service is an excellent chance to meet, and is an honor to host.
"We're such a diverse community, so it's always nice to do this," Barbone said. "But it's a privilege for us to host it."
Barbone also said that it was exceptionally gratifying for him to help bring not just the clergy members, but all the Springfield residents from different congregations together to celebrate.
One of those congregants was Lori Needleman. She was there from Temple Sha'arey Shalom and said that for her, this service was indicative of the common thread the town shares.
"I think the fact that the various religious houses in this town—and it's a small town—come together to celebrate and do what we can to unite as a community," Needleman said. "I think this community has pulled together many times throughout the year for many different reasons, and it just proves what a strong town we are."
Once the service was underway, a proclamation was read from the Springfield Township Committee, and the combined attendees were lead in song by a choir composed of members from all the religious houses of worship.