About 100 people gathered Sunday afternoon to give thanks at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Olympia, just days before people sit down throughout the country to give thanks with friends and family over a large meal.
Sunday’s gathering didn’t involve a Thanksgiving meal, but instead gave a number of different religious faiths and its members a chance to gather under one roof and give thanks to those people important to them in their lives, as well as the community and its diversity.
The Community Interfaith Thanksgiving was organized by Interfaith Works, a nonprofit association of about 30 congregations, executive director Danny Kadden said.
This was the 29th annual event of its kind. The event is hosted by a different church every year.
This year it was hosted by the west-side Lutheran congregation.
The hourlong church service had guest speakers, music and poetry. In between, handwritten messages from audience members wanting to give thanks were read aloud by Barnett Kalikow, Interfaith Works board president.
Many mentioned their family, wives and children; a grandmother whose cancer is in remission; having a roof over their head; and someone in the audience thanked the Chicago Cubs.
The gathering also heard from the voices of tomorrow: Elizabeth Chapin, 20, who graduated from The Evergreen State College at 19; and Hannah Garcia, 16, a student and synchronized swimmer at Olympia High School.
Both were thankful for their families, they said, including Garcia, who said she was thankful to have a Jewish mother and a Christian father, giving her a unique religious perspective.
Kadden said he was overjoyed to have the youth speakers.
“They can show us how to live in harmony,” he said, citing the example of how young people recently confronted members of Westboro Baptist Church and formed a counter-protest to Westboro’s anti-gay message.
The service was highlighted by musical performances. Deliana Broussard performed classical flute, and the Capital High School Choralaires, a group of young women, performed two songs, including the bluesy number, “City Called Heaven,” which nearly brought down the house.Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 firstname.lastname@example.org theolympian.com/bizblog @rolf_boone