Tonight is the night. Once a year our community gathers, hosted in a local church, to celebrate our gratitude for all the blessings we have received. In the process we remember those who serve our community and nation. We also remember those who are struggling and need our help. There is only one event during the year when we come together to express our unity as faith communities and as people. We don’t dwell on our differences, but take joy in making music together, praying together and sharing our gratitude.
This celebration is sponsored by the Escondido Clergy Association, but as with most large events, the organizing is largely done by a few people every year. Rev. Faith Conklin of First United Methodist Church calls me every summer to join her for breakfast. We meet several times during the months preceding Thanksgiving. With input from my fellow music ministers in other churches, as well as her fellow pastors, we come up with choral anthems, special acts of praise from local musicians, speakers who will share insights about gratitude, and those who will help with the logistics of day.
Tonight is the night. All the preparations have finished and we have only to gather at the appointed time. Musicians will begin to arrive at 4:30 pm. By 5 pm we will have over 100 singers seated.Directors of the singers who are participating will take turns rehearsing the choral music. By 6:30 all the singers will share a light meal provided by the host church. And then it happens. The community gathers.
Imagine the sound of over one hundred voices lifted in glorious song. Those who have come to participate in the congregation will join with those hundred voices in hymns that we all share. By the end of the evening, we will all feel as one. Our gratitude for the blessing of community will be spoken. We’ll collect food for the poor, and donate funds to help those who need it most. But the greatest gift of the evening will be our oneness.
All are welcome: 2011 Interfaith Thanksgiving
November 22, 2011 7 pm
Hosted this year by Escondido Seventh Day Adventist Church
1301 Deodar Road, Escondido, CA