A friend who had attended Sunday services at Centenary United Methodist Church in Mankato was pleased to pass on news of an inclusive Community Wide Interfaith Thanksgiving Service on Wednesday night at the First Congregational United Church of Christ Mankato (Facebook page).
We have posted the flier for the gathering at the top of this post, since we like the message of strength and thanks:
Through music and prayers, sacred writings and reflections, we'll come together to give thanks for the blessings of this one good earth that we have been given to share fully and joyfully.
The congregation's Facebook post about the event adds this:
Nov. 23rd, Wednesday at 7pm... ALL ARE WELCOME!
Representatives from a variety of Christian denominations, and Islamic and Native American communities will lead us in a gathering of thanks for our diversity and our common yearning for peace, shalom, salaam...
Our friend had understood that while the community-wide service was well-established in Mankato, this was the first time that the local Islamic community would be part of the celebration. A call to Dr. Dana Mann at First Congregational United Church of Christ in the Key City confirmed his impression.
The Islamic Center of Mankato, a mosque that opened in 2011, will be among the faith communities offering thanks on Wednesday night. While the center's sign was vandalized at the end of August, the Mankato Free Press reported that Abdi Sabrie, a founding board member of the center, bore no grudges: “ 'The majority of people [in Mankato] are good. It really is a great community,' he said." Sabrie serves on the Mankato school board as well.
Native American voices at the celebration are a sign of healing, since much reconciliation work has been done in the city, where 38 Dakota warriors were executed on the day after Christmas following the 1862 United States-Dakota War.
Offerings collected will go to The Reach, a drop-in center for homeless youth and Feeding Our Communities Partners' Backpack Food Program, which:
provides a weekend's worth of healthy, well-balanced meals (see menu) in small bags. The bags are given to the students' teachers every Thursday to be discreetly placed into the child's backpack on Friday.
Bluestem is thankful to learn of yet another Greater Minnesota community in which people are coming together, rather than fearing each other.
Earlier this month, we reported about #BemidjiRespect to unite around "shared values of mutual respect, appreciation for differences" and Cows, colleges & concerns: Northfield resolves to be "safe, inclusive and welcoming community".
If you appreciate our posts and original analysis, you can mail contributions (payable to Sally Jo Sorensen, 33166 770th Ave, Ortonville, MN 56278) or use the paypal button in the upper right hand corner of this post.
Or you can contribute via this link to paypal; use email sally.jo.sorensen at gmail.com as recipient.