Interfaith Thanksgiving service to be in Fruita

Once a year, different religious groups put aside their differences for a service of thanksgiving.

The annual Interfaith Community Thanksgiving Service will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 513 E. Aspen St. in Fruita. The service is hosted by the Grand Valley Interfaith Network, an organization representing many different religious faiths.

“It’s more about celebrating faith out of respect for one another,” said Dan Wilkie, pastor at First Congregational United Church of Christ. “It’s a special service for people interested in other faith traditions.”

There will be messages from people of American Indian, Jewish, Islamic and Sikh faiths. Wilkie will give a children’s message.

“Everybody that goes doesn’t forget about it,” Grand Junction Peace & Justice Director Karen Sjoberg said. “It is such a remarkable experience. Where else can you see some Muslims and Jewish people worship side by side. It is fascinating to watch what other faiths do to worship.”

The service was started in the late 1970s by the Rev. Jim King of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, Sjoberg said. It was an interdenominational service for years. Then, Jewish, Islamic and American Indian faiths became part of the service, too.

Marta Delgado, a school librarian, has been giving the American Indian blessing in the service for a few years.

“For me, the reason I started doing it is because of the common thread that runs through all the faiths,” she said. “That is the unity. From a planetary, global perspective, we are essentially one planetary family. The common thread all faiths have bring us together. It’s not just human, but spiritual.”

The American Indian blessing recognizes and honors the four geographical directions.

“It’s to honor the balance and harmony of earth,” Delgado said. “I’ll move and honor each direction starting with the east and move in a circular pattern going to the south.”

The one-hour service will include music and a reading of Psalm 100:4, Sjoberg said. Psalm 100:4 says, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: Be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”

An offering will be taken for the Agape Food Basket in Fruita and the Homeward Bound Homeless Shelter.

“We take an offering for different organizations different years,” Wilkie said. “This year, we are taking an offering for the homeless shelter. Last year, we did for the Grand Valley Catholic Outreach.”

Sjoberg, who has attended the service the past six years, estimated more than 100 people attended it last year.


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