Thursday, November 21, 2019
35th Annual Houston Interfaith Thanksgiving Service
Theme: "The Network of Life"
Offsite: Covenant Church (4949 Caroline St., Houston, Texas 77004)
Free and open to all, registration suggested
Limited parking is available at the Church's small parking lot on Wichita Street
Free street parking on the surrounding streets: Wichita, Caroline, Rosedale, and Austin Streets
Leaders and members of nine different faith communities from across the city came together around the theme “The Network of Life.” Through prayers, readings, chants, and reflections, representatives from Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, and Zoroastrian traditions expressed both gratitude and a continued commitment to care for the earth, each other, and all that is living. This year’s theme served as a reminder of the interconnectedness of all living things: humans, animals, plants, natural elements, and our responsibility to be good stewards for each other and for future generations.
The service started in 1985 in response to the bombing of a storefront mosque. After helping to raise money to support the mosque's repairs, the Annual Thanksgiving Service co-founders George Atkinson and Garland Pohl wanted to find a way for different faith organizations to come together, as thanksgiving is a common value shared by all the major world religions. Initially, participants represented Judaism, Islam and Christianity, but within three years, Buddhists, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Baha’i, Hindus and Jains joined the service. The creation of the event is a milestone in the development of interfaith dialogue in Houston.
Participants included: Houston Baha'i Center, The Sikh National Center Houston, Zoroastrian Association of Greater Houston, Congregation Or Ami, JVB Preshka Meditation Center Houston, America International Buddhists Community and Jade Buddha Temple at Texas Buddhist Association, Maryam Islamic Center and River Oaks Islamic Center, Christ the King Lutheran Church, and Arya Samaj Greater Houston.
Houston Interfaith Thanksgiving Service Committee: George Atkinson, United Methodist; Charlene Chuang, Buddhist; Alok Jain, Jain; Beth Kulkarni, Hindu; Vehishta Kaikobad, Zoroastrian; Riaz Masrour, Baha'i; Garland Pohl, Catholic