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Faith In Brooklyn for Dec. 2

10/12/2014: United States

Protecting the Earth Is a Theme of Interfaith Thanksgiving in Midwood

Our Lady of Refuge Church (Parish of the Sion Community in Brooklyn where Sr Celia Deutsch is the parish coordinator for interfaith relations) was filled with the sounds of the popular praise song “This Is the Day” last Sunday, juxtaposed with its Hebrew counterpart, “Ze Hayom.” Both are expressions of Psalm 118: 24.

Members of several faith communities joined in as they gathered in the large sanctuary at Ocean and Foster avenues for a joyful 14th annual interfaith Thanksgiving service.

This annual tradition is the result of a joint effort of clergy and laypeople, with members of Our Lady of Refuge, neighboring Church of the Nativity (Episcopal), the East Midwood Jewish Center and musicians and choruses from the Amity School and all three congregations.

During his opening remarks, Fr. Michael Perry, pastor of Our Lady of Refuge Church, reminded the gathering of the precious right to worship in the United States.

“If we were in Iraq right now, we’d have our heads chopped off. We are doing something in this country that not everybody can do — and that is, pray together,” Fr. Perry said.

The liturgy included thanksgiving prayers from many faiths, including the Roman Catholic and Episcopal rites from the Christian tradition; and from the Native American and Ba’Hai traditions.

Cantor Sam Levine of the East Midwood Jewish Center and the Rev. Kimberlee Auletta of the Church of the Nativity presented a clergy dialogue on caring stewardship of the earth and its resources. Rabbi Matt Carl of the East Midwood Jewish Center then echoed these same themes in his reflection.

The interfaith service highlighted the works of youth, through song and service. The Church of Nativity’s youth choir and the young ladies of the Amity School led songs and, later, carried the donations of food to the altar.  

These contributions will be distributed to the American Jewish World Service, Catholic Relief Services, the Our Lady of Refuge pantry, Masbia Flatbush, Firstfriends of New Jersey and NYCares 2014 Coat Drive, conducted through the East Midwood Jewish Center.

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