“We Gather Together” – words of the traditional Thanksgiving song – set the tone for the 2016 MCCN Interfaith Thanksgiving Prayer Service on November 21.
“We bring together what is most precious to us in our respective faith traditions…We are not about converting one another…we are about listening to each other in what we hold most precious…so that we might become more complete individually and together in this traditional and fresh new time of Thanksgiving,” said Ellen O’Shaughnessy, D.Min., director of Campus Ministry, who planned the program.
These thoughts were echoed in Reflections provided by Father Vinny McKiernan (St. Thomas More Newman Center), Jessica Shimberg (senior Rabbinic candidate), Rev. Eric Brown (Woodland Christian Church) and Nicol Ghazi (Noor Islamic Cultural Center). Responses were provided by MCCN students, Rebecca Bujnoch, Logan Jackson, Glorya Albertini, Fadumo Jama-Aden and Aisha Ahmed, as well as Yuliya Fonin, who is a graduate and current board member of Downtowners Campus Ministry.
Gifts of warm clothing, tents, batteries and other items for people who are homeless were a humble visual as Rob Mitchell, Staff, Records Data Analyst with Registrar Office who spoke about his outreach to the homeless from his church and Mount Carmel, and Benjamin Sears of Mount Carmel Outreach Street Medicine spoke about that program for the homeless.
Other gifts include toys and small items that senior student TiAnna DiYanni, and her sister Tori DiYanni, who is recent graduate working in the Dominican Republic, will distribute to children there. Instructor Bonnie Mitchell brought attention to the dire needs in Haiti at a recent College Assembly. And, checks may be sent to American Red Cross to help those hurt Hurricane Matthew. Children at Avondale Elementary School will receive wrapped Christmas presents.
Before the program ended with an Exchange of Peace, Shalom, As-Salamu alaykum, Dr. O’Shaughnessy also reminded the assembled students, faculty and staff: “Pope Francis tells us to avoid the ‘virus of polarization: hostility that targets people of different beliefs. We are about healing and unity with our plant, our precious world, our country, our city and those beside us.’”
The program ended with a reprise of “We Gather Together,” performed again by the Mount Carmel College Choir, led by Mary Yoder, MS, RN, instructor, and accompanied on guitar by Emily Strand, MA, instructor and guest Michael Szczepanik from St. Thomas More Newman Center at OSU.
Thanksgiving is often seen as the “kickoff” to the holiday season. At MCCN we wish a joyful holiday to all!
- Bodhi Day (Buddhism) – Dec. 8
- Mawlid al-Nabi (Islam) – Dec. 11 to Dec. 12
- Hanukkah (Judaism) – Dec. 24 to Jan. 1
- Christmas (Christianity) – Dec. 25