Congregations with different faith backgrounds and beliefs are coming together to celebrate Thanksgiving.
Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church in North Raleigh is hosting this year’s interfaith service at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 21.
The service will be led by faith leaders from houses of worship in the North Raleigh area, including As Salaam Islamic Center, Beth Meyer Synagogue, Millbrook Baptist Church, Millbrook United Methodist Church, St. Philip Lutheran Church, St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church and Saint Andrews.
A reception will follow in the fellowship hall co-hosted by Saint Andrews and Millbrook United Methodist.
Thanksgiving is not a faith-based holiday, but it celebrates things like thankfulness, gratefulness and blessings and that can be very spiritual.
“The interfaith service is a way of recapturing that spirit of thankfulness,” said the Rev. Diane Knauf, a pastor at Saint Andrews. “We have Jewish, Muslim and Christian participants coming together for this service. We do share as Americans that sense of thankfulness for God’s blessings, for the things that we enjoy and the ways through our respective perspectives we find God active in the world,” Knauf said.
The service, with the same core participants, has been going on for a dozen or so years. Knauf hopes this year the service is a unifier.
“I am excited to be a part of it and will be very powerful because we are coming together as a community after a contentious election season,” Knauf said. “I know we will be trying to rediscover those things that unify us.”
The congregations are already unified by an outreach they share – all work with refugees in the Raleigh area. A monetary offering will be received during the service to help refugee families through the Brown Bag/Abundance Ministry of St. Philip Lutheran. Participants are also asked to bring a non-perishable food item for The Food Pantry at Millbrook United Methodist.
The service will take place in the sanctuary of Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church at 7506 Falls of Neuse Road.
“It happens to be held in a Christian church this year but at other times it can be at the mosque or a synagogue,” Knauf said. “We are sure to incorporate as many traditions from the participants as we are able to. The sermon or message is always uplifting but broad enough that everyone can take something from it without feeling that they’re being in any way pushed to adopt any other kind of faith than what they bring with them.”
Edenton Street United Methodist Church is throwing an eStreet Porch Party from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19.
The church is opening up the playground and is welcoming neighbors to tour the church and enjoy music, games and food trucks. Vendors include Big Mike’s BBQ, American Meltdown, Mr. A’s Beignets and more.
The church is located at 228 W. Edenton St. in downtown Raleigh.
Carla Turchetti compiles Faith in Focus each week. Email her with details of upcoming events at firstname.lastname@example.org.