Ahead of Thanksgiving, Frederick County residents of various faiths came together to express gratitude and pray for peace Tuesday evening.

Beth Sholom Congregation hosted the Frederick Area Ministerial Association’s third annual Multi-Faith Community Thanksgiving Service. More than 40 area residents joined the service, where religious leaders from 13 congregations led prayers and songs from their respective faiths.

“It’s a real blessing for us in the wider faith community to be able to come together in one place and give thanks,” said Rabbi Jordan Hersh, of Beth Sholom Congregation. “The key to achieving peace in our community, in our world, in our lives, is fostering a sense of wholeness. Realizing that although we exist as a multitude of religious faiths and traditions. ... When we create space to come together and foster a sense of wholeness within our community, then we really are moving forward in our communal vision of a world where peace reigns.”

“This is intentionally a multi-faith Thanksgiving service,” said the Rev. Carl Gregg, president of the Frederick Area Ministerial Association. “We invite each group to bring their distinctiveness and bring their uniqueness, and we can celebrate that side by side.”

In addition to Beth Sholom, the Baha’i Faith of Frederick, Centennial Memorial United Methodist Church, Christian Science Society of Frederick, Evangelical Reformed United Church of Christ, Frederick Presbyterian Church, Frederick Friends Meeting, Global Peace Multicultural Community, Islamic Society of Frederick, Asbury United Methodist Church, Trinity United Methodist Church, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, and Unity in Frederick all participated in Tuesday’s service.

After the group rose to sing the hymn “We Gather Together,” Hersh set the tone for a Thanksgiving service with a reading from the Hebrew scriptures that expressed gratitude to God for the world and “richness of the Earth, which day by day sustains us.”

The Rev. Deb Linton, of Centennial Memorial United Methodist Church; Rev. Mark Groover, of Asbury United Methodist Church; and Rev. Eliezer Valentín-Castañón, of Trinity United Methodist Church, each offered prayer and readings from the Bible about peace and giving thanks.

Michele McKnight, of the Baha’i Faith of Frederick, delivered a prayer from the Baha’i tradition.

“The American nation is worthy of Thy favors and is deserving of Thy mercy,” McKnight read.

After an hour of prayer and song, the Rev. Barbara Kershner Daniel, of Evangelical Reformed United Church of Christ, gave the final blessing of the evening.

“We all had a lot of places we could have been tonight, and I’m grateful that we all chose to be here tonight,” Kershner Daniel said. “May we go from this place to share love, hope and peace with all.”

Follow Cameron Dodd on Twitter: @CameronFNP.

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