In a remarkable interfaith gesture, Nevada (USA) celebrated its 25th Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Eve Service on November 24 evening at Trinity Episcopal Church in Reno with various religions/denominations coming together to pray.
Christian (various denominations), Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, and Baha'i prayers and other readings were held on the occasion giving thanks to God. Participants included Episcopal rector Stefani Schatz, Buddhist priest William Bartlett, Jewish rabbi Myra Soifer, Roman Catholic readers Joe Bell and Rocio Grady, United Methodist pastor Judith Bitter, Muslim imam Abdulrahim Barghouthi, Hindu leader Rajan Zed, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints elder Nicholas Frey, Baha'i elder Roya Galata, Robert Petrovich of International Community of Christ.
Michael Langham of Reno Trinity Episcopal Church, The Shepherd's Bells Choir of Reno Lutheran Church of Good Shepherd lead by Toni de Salvo, Reno Stake Choir of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints lead by Mildred Earl, Roger Hogan of Reno Baha'is, and St. Cecilia Choir of Reno Trinity Episcopal Church lead by Matthew Moore provided various musical selections including "Simple Gifts", "Call to Worship", "How Great Thou Art", "Amazing Grace", "OLD 100th Psalm Tune", and "Nun danket alle Gott". Audience also participated in congregational hymns "Come Ye Thankful People Come" and "We Gather Together".
Group of children, organized by Sierra Foundation, gave a "Whirling Dervishes Performance". The food items were collected on the occasion to be donated to Food Bank of Northern Nevada and monetary donations collected to go to Family Promise.
Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism and who read "Gayatri mantra", most sacred mantra of Hinduism, on the occasion, says that a more inclusive and broader understanding of religion is needed and events like this help unite us as a community.
Thanksgiving, which traces its roots to Plymouth (Massachusetts) settlers in autumn 1621, is said to be an annual tradition in USA since 1863 and fell on November 25 this year. It is also observed in Canada, Grenada, Leiden (Netherlands) and Liberia. (ANI)