The Racine Downtown Cooperative Parish held its Thanksgiving Eve Service on Nov. 26 at First Presbyterian Church. Here are photos and stories from a wonderful evening:
Ben Johnston-Krase, of First Presbyterian Church, hosted the event and gave the welcoming talk after a performance by Olympia Brown UU's choir. First Presbyterian organist Jerry Buck played the prelude.
The photo above is the combined choirs of the Downtown Cooperative Parish, which performed the song, "For the Beauty of the Earth" by John Rutter.
Nabeeh El Amin, of the Racine Islamic Center, gave the call to prayer and Lori Gorgas Hlaban, interim minister at Olympia Brown, gave a scripture reading.
John Brosseau, of the Beth Israel Sinai Congregation, Jim Schatzman of St. Luke's Episcopal Church, and Martice Scales, of the HOPES Center, offered meditations.
Father Ricardo Martin of St. Patrick's Catholic Church and Cristo Rey Catholic Church offered a prayer and Joyce Gregg, of Evangelical United Methodist Church, read from James 3:13-18.
An offering was collected to support the Downtown Cooperative Parish Food Pantry, and Brad Van Fossen of First United Methodist Church offered a prayer of dedication.
Johnston-Krase and the Rev. Tony Larsen, of Olympia Brown, led the audience of about 150 people in a sing-a-long hymn, "Giving to Life."
Master Teacher Tony Somlai, of the Original Root Zen Center, helped the audience pass the peace by encouraging everyone to wish people they meet happiness. He then had the crowd mix together and wish each other happiness, a greeting that spread to the fellowship of homebaked pies following the service.
Arr. Wilber Held played "Simple Gifts" as a postlude to the gathering.
Tony Somlai encourages the audience to wish their friends, and their enemies, happiness.