In this era of cultural and political polarization, it is more important than ever that we celebrate events like the 5th Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. Faith leaders from 5 major denominations and representatives from the Thanks-Giving foundation and the North Dallas Shared Ministries led a meaningful and beautiful service at St. Rita Catholic Church in Dallas on November 17, 2022.
The theme of this year’s service was “Celebrating God’s Faithfulness”.
The Interfaith Thanksgiving was initiated in 2018 and was hosted by Congregation Shearith Israel that year. In subsequent years it has been hosted by various denominations and will continue next year at University Park United Methodist Church in Dallas on November 16, 2023.
“Going back to 2018 when we got this service started and hosted it here at Shearith Israel, it has been a source of profound joy to me each year to visit other area congregations of various faiths and denominations to take part in this uplifting experience. Living in a society rife with division, the fact that we are able to share in the spirit of kinship, community and gratitude despite our different religious beliefs is a precious gift indeed,” said Rabbi Ari Sunshine.
Kyle Ogden, President and CEO of the Thanks-Giving Foundation opened the service. The Thanks-Giving Foundation, established in 1964 and housed in Thanksgiving Square in downtown Dallas, has as its mission to be, “…a place where we can all stand together on common ground, reflect on gratitude and appreciate the diversity of our community.”
The service was accompanied by St. Rita’s choir and organist, Joshua Boyd.
Following the service there were cookies and refreshments and, of course, fellowship amongst the many different religious leaders and their congregants.
Among the particpants attending were:
Joshua Boyd, organist, St. Rita Catholic Community
Rev. Holly Bandel, Executive Associate Minister, First United Methodist Church, Dallas
Dr. Alfred Calabrese, Director of Music Ministry & Parish Liturgy
Bishop Keith M Earl, Dallas Texas Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Kyle Ogden, President & Chief Executive Officer, Thanks-Giving Foundation
Judy Rorrie, Executive Director, North Dallas Shared Ministries
Rev. Joe Stobaugh, Senior Minister, University Park United Methodist Church
Rev. Dr. Andy Stoker, Vice President, Chief Engagement Officer, Thanks-Giving Foundation
Imam Azhar Subedar, Spiritual Leader of the Islamic Center of Collin County
Rabbi Ari Sunshine, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Shearith Israel
Rev. Joshua Whitfield, Pastoral Administrator, St. Rita Catholic Community
Shearith Israel clergy, staff and congregants share