By: Jen Russon
A 30-year tradition in the cities of Coral Springs and Parkland, the Pre-Thanksgiving Interfaith Unity Service, which invites people of all faiths to enjoy songs and messages of spirituality and gratitude from different religions, will meet once again – this year at First Church.
Each year during the week of Thanksgiving, the Unity service takes place in one of four places of worship: St. Andrew Catholic Church, Temple Beth Orr, First Church in Coral Springs, or Kol Tikvah in Parkland.
Mayors, vice mayors, city commissioners, and other high profile members in the community are known to drop by or speak at the highly anticipated end-of-year event.
Before guests settle into their pews, they are encouraged to drop a canned food donation into bins; a little later, a collection basket is passed around. The proceeds go toward aiding friends and neighbors in the vicinity, struggling with poverty.
During the service, guests will hear inspiring words from priests, ministers, rabbis, and pastors.
An extensive autumnal dessert buffet, coffee, and assorted refreshments are offered after the hour-long service, following choral music performed, in part, by the children’s choir of St. Andrew – but the choir doesn’t do all of the singing on their own.
In years past, guests at the Pre-Thanksgiving event conclude the service by joining hands and singing America the Beautiful.
Regular participants from Coral Springs and Parkland are diverse. They include visits from Masjid Jamaat Al-Mu’mineen, Christ Church, St. Mary Magdelene Episcopal, City Reach Church, Baha’i Assembly, and New Dawn Community Church.
First Church, the venue this year, is known across the two cities for its JuBellation of handbells, men’s and sanctuary choir ensembles, and is considered by congregants from one end of town to the other as something to look forward to year-round.
To see what music director Monica Hidalgo has planned for this year’s Pre-Thanksgiving event, get your canned goods ready and head to First Church at 8650 W. Sample Road. The event is scheduled for Tuesday, November 26, at 7 p.m.
- Jen Russon is a freelance writer and English Language Arts teacher. She has published two novels to Amazon Kindle and lives in Coral Springs with her family.