Tuesday night I attended an interfaith Thanksgiving service at a Roman Catholic Church in our town to support our pastor, who was one of the clergy participating in it.
It was a wonderful service and I decided to write a story about it, since clergy members hope to make it a Thanksgiving tradition. I hadn't planned to do so, but it worked out.
This is my story published in today's New Haven Register:
"ANSONIA — Tuesday was a time for Valley residents to celebrate their blessings as local clergy took part in an Interfaith Service of Thanksgiving. Nearly 200 people attended the event at Church of the Assumption.
The participating clergy hailed from several faith traditions: Roman Catholic; Congregational; Episcopal; Jewish; and Buddhist.
The Rev. Robert F. Condron, pastor, Church of the Assumption, welcomed worshippers to the evening service. The Rev. Ed Stueckle, pastor, Second Congregational Church, Derby, read aloud President Obama’s Thanksgiving proclamation.
One of the participants, the Rev. Donna G. Ives, pastor, First Congregational Church in Derby, said a colleague commented before the service that “this is history in the making.” Ives said clergy members “were all amazed with the turnout.”
The Rev. Marcia Eveland, pastor of First Congregational Church in Ansonia, said clergy members plan to make the service an annual Thanksgiving tradition.
She credited the Rev. Amy Welin, pastor of Christ Episcopal Church in Ansonia, with much of the planning. “It all got going after she (Welin) spoke with Father George (Burnett from Church of the Assumption) this past Good Friday. Father George committed to hosting the Thanksgiving service at that time,” she said.
Eveland employed her puppet ministry as she called the children in the congregation down to the front of the sanctuary. She and “Booregard,” her longtime puppet “friend,” entertained them as she talked about religious pilgrims.
People brought offerings of non-perishable food donations for the Valley Food Bank.
Worshippers sang “We Gather Together,” “Come Ye Thankful People,” “God Bless America” and “Now Thank We All Our God.” Cantor Joshua Konigsberg of Congregation B’nai Jacob in Woodbridge sang several prayers in Hebrew.
In addition to Condron, Stueckle, Ives, Eveland, Welin, and Konigsberg, participants included Maj. Theresa Burkholder from The Salvation Army in Ansonia; the Venerable Thick Minh Duc from the Phuoc Long Buddhist Temple, Ansonia, and Jack Brady, deacon, Church of the Assumption.
Sponsors of the service were: Christ Episcopal Church, Ansonia; Church of the Assumption, Ansonia; Congregation B’nai Jacob, Woodbridge; First
Congregational Church, Ansonia; First Congregational Church, Derby; First United Methodist Church, Ansonia; Holy Rosary Church, Ansonia; Phuoc Long Buddhist Temple, Ansonia; St. Joseph Church, Ansonia; St. Mary’s Church, Derby; The Salvation Army, Ansonia; Second Congregational Church, Derby; Three Saints Russian Orthodox Church, Ansonia."