Interfaith Thanksgiving Event Set at New Shiloh Christian Center in Melbourne Nov. 21
By Space Coast Daily // November 9, 2021
25 Brevard faith organizations and traditions will come together
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – At a time when people are weary from the pandemic and searching for a way back to civility and gratitude, local interfaith organizers have an answer.
United in Thanksgiving. In the run-up to America’s big holiday, members from 25 Brevard faith organizations and traditions will come together for a celebration of gratitude on Sunday, November 21 at 3:00 PM at New Shiloh Christian Center in Melbourne, 3900 Sarno Road, to reflect on the blessings of America.
Centered on gratitude, the event will focus on affirming shared values and the desire for deeper cultural understanding.
The fourth United in Thanksgiving program will feature readings by diverse faith leaders and youth representatives addressing themes of Love, Forgiveness, and Unity.
Live music from participating faith organizations will include a praise band, string ensemble, Hawaiian flutes, and vocalists. The event will conclude with all those in attendance singing, “Draw the Circle Wide.”
Believers and seekers of all faiths from the general public are welcome to attend the one-hour United in Thanksgiving event; hundreds are expected. Masks will be required for the indoor event, which will also be live-streamed from newshilohcc.org.
Attendees are asked to bring a donation of non-perishable food items for food-insecure families in Brevard.
United in Thanksgiving began modestly in 2017, sponsored by three faith communities—Advent Lutheran Church, the Islamic Society of Brevard, and Temple Israel of Brevard. The event grew significantly in its second year and attendance at the third annual United in Thanksgiving drew participation by 25 Brevard faith organizations and traditions.
“It’s such a joy to come together with caring people of so many different faiths, to build relationships, and see the many ways that faith is lived,” said Barbara Vennman, President of Interfaith United.
“We hope that all who attend United in Thanksgiving, either in person or virtually, will see that what we have in common as people of faith is much greater than our differences. Our faith is one more thing to be thankful for.”
The interfaith movement has been growing in America since the 1920s. It refers to cooperative, constructive, and positive interaction between people of different religious traditions or spiritual beliefs, who come together seeking to promote understanding and acceptance of others.
Originally inclusive of only the three Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), interfaith groups now include numerous Eastern traditions as well as humanists and secularists.
Membership in Interfaith United draws from religions and faith traditions that include Baha’i, Islam, Judaism, Buddhist, Unitarian Universalist, Roman Catholic, Mormon, Lutheran, Methodist, American Baptist, Episcopal, and other Christian denominations.
Interfaith United also appreciates the support of St. Francis Reflections Lifestage Care and Thrivent Financial. Interfaith United members and program speakers and performers do not necessarily represent the views of individual parishes, congregations, or organizations.
The group’s United in Compassion food distribution initiative currently serves approximately 1,000 of Brevard’s needy each week.
In recent years, the largest public interfaith event on the Space Coast has been United in Thanksgiving, which brought together faith communities and members of the public in celebration of diversity and cultural sharing.
While the 2020 event was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2019 event at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Community drew over 800 attendees.
SPONSORING ORGANIZATIONS & FAITH COMMUNITIES INCLUDE:
■ Advent Lutheran Church
■ Baha’i Center of Brevard
■ Eastminster Presbyterian Church
■ Friendship Fellowship at Pineda, Unitarian Universalist
■ Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Community
■ St. Francis Reflections Lifestage Care
■ Islamic Society of Brevard
■ Suntree United Methodist Church
■ Temple Beth Sholom
■ Temple Israel
■ The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
■ Thrivent Financial
Call 321-750-4462 for more information, or visit InterfaithUnited.com.
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