United by Gratitude: Jersey Faiths Give Thanks Together

Members of the three Abrahamic faiths came together on Tuesday night at a Thanksgiving interfaith service at a New Jersey church to sing, pray and recount the blessings in their lives, North Jersey reported.

“We all have more in common than not, and we need to celebrate that,” said Shaheen Ahmed, who attends the Darul Islah mosque in Teaneck and is a member of the Tenafly Interfaith Association that runs the event. 

Over 100 worshipers packed the pews at the Church of Atonement in Tenafly on Tuesday night.

The Thanksgiving interfaith service is an annual tradition that started shortly after 9/11.

The event included participants from Lutheran, Presbyterian, Korean, Roman Catholic and Episcopal churches as well as Muslims and Jews from around Tenafly.

United by Gratitude: Jersey Faiths Give Thanks Together - About Islam
The Church of the Atonement held the annual Tenafly Interfaith Thanksgiving service, bringing together Jews, Christians, and Muslims, on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019. (Photo: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com)

Although many of the religions have daily prayers containing expressions of gratitude, most people don’t concentrate on them, reciting them as a matter of routine, Ahmed said. “Everyone’s lives are busy and even though we say thank you to people here and there we don’t reflect on what gratitude itself means. This gives us that time.” 

Rev. Peter Magnan of the Presbyterian Church of Tenafly commented on the healing power of gratitude.

“This Thanksgiving, one of the things that I will give thanks for is that when my grandfathers came to this country, they were not greeted with hatred or fear but with opportunities,” said Magnan.

Thanksgiving is a celebration observed on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and the second Monday of October in Canada. The celebration is about giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.

Though it started as a Christian tradition, the current form of celebration is a cultural holiday observed by people of all faiths.