Thanksgiving service unites many Westport faiths in giving thanks
A dozen denominations were represented, but they joined together as one.
In the spirit of “Many Voices Giving Thanks,” the Interfaith Clergy Council of Westport and Weston held its annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Celebration on Tuesday night at Saugatuck Congregational Church.
Many at the gathering were especially pleased to be back in the sanctuary at Saugatuck following a November 2011 fire that closed the building more than three years — and forced relocation of the church’s annual community feast on Thanksgiving Day until its return this year.
“I’d been here many times before the fire,” said Weston First Selectman Nina Daniel, a member of the clergy herself. “It’s beautifully redone,” she said. “I’m so thankful for that.”
Saugatuck’s minister, the Rev. Alison Patton, welcomed all in attendance. “You are a gift for having come this night,” she said.
“We were as a council outside on the lawn not so long ago,” said Rabbi Jeremy Weiderhorn of the Conservative Synagogue of Westport, “praying together after the fire.”
“We’ve been waiting for this moment for quite some time now,” he said of the the traditional holiday service’s return to the sanctuary of the historic church.
Weiderhorn, as a gesture of spreading good news in the custom of ancient Israel, sounded the Shofar, or ram’s horn, which he said provided “an opportunity for all of us to be inspired.”
With all the bad things happening in the world, he said, including pain, sorrow, evil and tragedy, “sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the blessings in our lives for which we are so grateful.”
“As a community we have much to be thankful for,” said First Selectman Jim Marpe. “In a world so often touched by violence, our corner of the world remains peaceful and blessed with abundance, kindness and hope.”
“I hope that this Thanksgiving and all the days to come are blessed with love, warmth and peace,” he added.