14 congregations to participate in Interfaith Thanksgiving Eve service

November 24, 1993|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,Staff Writer

The Wilde Lake Interfaith Center will be full tonight, as members of 14 different congregations attend Columbia's 25th Interfaith Thanksgiving Eve Service.

"It's a time that the community can come together . . . and give thanks with others," said George Martin, the program's host, and a deacon with St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, who meet in Wilde Lake and Oakland Mills interfaith centers.

Members of the congregations who meet in Columbia's four interfaith centers will attend the service at 7:30 p.m. at the Wilde Lake Interfaith Center on Twin Rivers Road.

Congregations that don't belong to the interfaith centers are also invited, Mr. Martin said, adding he hopes at least 150 people will attend. Many county churches, such as, Christ Memorial Presbyterian Church in Allview Estates, will have their own Thanksgiving Eve services.

During the interfaith service, people of different faiths will give thanks for blessings, and read scriptures from Baha'i, Christian, Jewish, Islamic and Unitarian faiths. Afterward they'll feast on cider and cookies, Mr. Martin said.

Bishop Francis P. Murphy, of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, will be the guest speaker. He was ordained a priest in Rome on Dec. 20, 1958, and serves as the personal representative to Baltimore Archbishop William H. Keeler for Howard, Carroll, Frederick, Washington, Allegany and Garrett counties.

Columbia's interfaith centers allow members of diverse religious traditions and faiths to share space.

Those attending the interfaith Thanksgiving service will also have the opportunity to help the needy by donating money and nonperishable foods to the Maryland Food Committee and the Christian Women's Thrift Shop of Howard County. Organizers would like to raise a minimum of $500, Mr. Martin said.

"It's a sacred day for some people," Mr. Martin said, calling Thanksgiving a "civil religious day".

"It's important that people from various backgrounds can come together and share who they are."

The Rev. Thea Nietfield, of the 300-member Unitarian Universalist Society of Howard County, which meets in the Owen Brown Interfaith Center, said: "It's great. I think it's important that the whole interfaith community comes together at least once a year."

People attending the ecumenical service "can thank God for our general blessings and unique blessings of sharing space," said the Rev. Robert A.F. Turner, pastor for St. John the Evangelist Baptist Church in Wilde Lake.

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