RENO, Nev. — In a remarkable interfaith gesture, Nevada (USA) celebrated its 28th Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Eve Service on November 27 evening at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in Reno with various religions / denominations coming together to pray.
Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, and Baha’i prayers and other readings were held on the occasion giving thanks to God. Participants included Matthew F. Cunningham, Roman Catholic Diocese of Reno Chancellor; Gene Savoy Junior, Head Bishop of International Community of Christ (ICC); Abdulrahim Barghouthi of Northern Nevada Muslim Community (NNMC); distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed; Matthew Fisher of Reno Buddhist Center (RBC); Rabbi Ethan Bair of Temple Sinai; Brent Farr of LDS; and Baha’i teacher Roya Galata.
Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd and ICC team lead by Toni de Salvo, Nembustu Singers of RBC, Mildred Earl lead Reno Stake LDS Choir and The Johnson Family provided various musical selections including “The Shepherd’s Bells”, “Zensho Kada” & “Sing to the Mountains”, “We Are Sowing” and “Now Thank We All Our God”. Audience also participated in congregational hymns “Come Ye Thankful People Come” and “We Gather Together”, besides repeating Gayatri Mantra in Sanskrit lead by Zed.
Washoe County School District Superintendent Pedro Martinez also spoke at this Service titled “Give Thanks in Every Moment” and sponsored by Nevada Clergy Association. The food items collected on the occasion will be donated to Restart Food Pantry and monetary donations collected will be given to Volunteers of America Family Shelter matched by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. Menorah was lighted for the first night of Chanukah.
Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, 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 28 this year. It is also observed in Canada, Grenada, Leiden (Netherlands) and Liberia.