Interfaith event to celebrate Thanksgiving season

The Children of San Juan Diego Academy Choir perform at the 2013 Interfaith Thanksgiving Celebration.
The Children of San Juan Diego Academy Choir perform at the 2013 Interfaith Thanksgiving Celebration.
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Several religious and non-religious traditions will soon come together in Grand Rapids as the West Michigan interfaith community expresses their values of peace and gratitude in celebration of the Thanksgiving season.

The 15th annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Celebration, coordinated by Grand Valley State University’s Sylvia and Richard Kaufman Interfaith Institute, will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Monday, November 24 at 7 p.m.

“The Interfaith Thanksgiving Celebration is a time when many faith traditions come together to give thanks for our blessings and by doing it together, we also celebrate and give thanks for a community where all faith traditions are respected,” said Doug Kindschi, Kaufman Interfaith Institute director.

Interfaith Thanksgiving services in Grand Rapids have been held since 1987, celebrated among the Marywood Dominican Sisters, Congregation Ahavas Israel, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox and Third Reformed Church. That tradition became a citywide Interfaith Thanksgiving celebration in 2000 when the number of churches and faith traditions participating expanded.

“This Thanksgiving celebration is an opportunity to gather the splendid diversity from around our city to tell stories, sing songs, reflect for a moment and share insights,” said Katie Gordon, Kaufman Interfaith Institute program manager. “By this sharing, people can increase their gratitude for each other and for the various paths that bring us together.”

In conjunction with the Thanksgiving service, representatives from the Kaufman Interfaith Institute will also speak about the 2015 Year of Interfaith Service.

During the institute’s 2015 initiative, various congregations around West Michigan will participate in community service activities, including interfaith builds with Habitat for Humanity, volunteering at homeless shelters in the Grand Rapids Heartside district, donation drives for Goodwill Industries of West Michigan, park maintenance and cleanup with Friends of Grand Rapids Parks and much more.

For more information about the Interfaith Thanksgiving celebration or the 2015 Year of Interfaith Service, contact Katie Gordon at (616) 331-5702 or gordonk1@gvsu.edu.