Interfaith celebration features universal message of thanksgiving
Clad in tot-sized red choir robes, 21 melodic angels from Christ and Holy Trinity church touched hearts and strummed souls Sunday with their gentle singing of thanks to God.
The event featured ordained clerics from three Jewish, a half-dozen Protestant and one Roman Catholic congregation in the Westport-Weston community, as well as recitations from the Quran offered by Westport Muslims Ali Tariq and Jehangir Hafiz.
Tariq reverentially chanted from chapter 55 of the Muslim holy book, the Quran, and Hafiz translated. The readings centered on the good in giving thanks to a higher power.
The precedent for Thanksgiving came from Abraham Lincoln who, on Oct. 3, 1863, declared the last Thursday of November "a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens."
Sunday's event echoed that sentiment with an interfaith message attended by local politicians, clergy and congregants.
"Now is the time to give thanks to God for His blessings all year 'round," Gov. Rell wrote. "This harvest time of the year is a time to come together, as our colonial ancestors did, to give thanks to God. I hereby proclaim Thursday, Nov. 25, to be a public Day of Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving to one and all."
The Rev. Thomas Thorne, of Assumption Church, set the tone for the event with a prayer.
"Today we come together to acknowledge how God has provided for us and express exuberant thanks for God's bountiful blessings," Thorne said.
Rabbi Robert Orkand of Temple Israel intoned the gathering prayer, that included the following lines: "We ask you to shower forth tranquility, peace and reconciliation in a world that is troubled and grieved. Enlighten the hearts of the leaders of nations that they may collaborate in drawing peoples closer together for the good of all humanity."
The closing hymn, "O Holy One and Nameless," was composed for the celebration of the 300th year of the Green's Farms congregational church.
The closing lines: "We offer up our bodies, our hearts and hands, our minds to find our truest worship in serving humankind."