Holy Redeemer Church in Kensington hosted a community Thanksgiving service of prayer and singing on Nov. 20. Father Mark Hughes, Holy Redeemer’s pastor, began the program by welcoming all who had come to share in this annual celebration offered by area congregations of the Kensington-North Chevy Chase Ministerium. Rev. Kate Mackereth Fulton of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church offered the opening prayer.  The Holy Redeemer Adult Choir participated along with choirs and soloists from St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, the Kensington Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, Temple Emanuel, Christ Episcopal Church, the First Baptist Church of Ken-Gar, Warner Memorial Sanctuary Choir, and the North Chevy Chase Vocal Ensemble. 

Donations were suggested for the benefit of the National Immigrant Justice Center and Casa de Maryland. The plight of immigrants in today’s world was addressed by one minister who reminded participants of the grave threat to the lives of millions of people who are displaced and deprived of food and comfort that most people take for granted.

The choir of the First Baptist Church of Ken-Gar’s choral offering of “This Morning When I Rose” filled the church with joyous singing as the audience clapped in accompaniment.  On a more solemn note, Alison Mondel, mezzo soprano from Christ Episcopal Church, sang the “Simple Song” from Leonard Bernstein’s Mass. The Holy Redeemer choir sang “Ubi Caritas”, a hymn that reflects the parish’s Latin Catholic heritage. Brett Malay, the parish’s adult choir director, conducted the combined choral rendition of “For the Beauty of the Earth,” a hymn of thanksgiving to God for the many gifts of creation, for love of God and each other. 

Readings from scriptures emphasized the theme of thanksgiving as did the prayers offered individually by the ministers and those recited in common.  Two imams from Muslim communities read excerpts from the Quran, again on the theme of thanksgiving. 

This shared experience continues the annual Thanksgiving celebration held in different locations by the interfaith group.  Father Ryan Pineda, the parochial vicar at Holy Redeemer, participates in the Ministerium and offered to host the celebration at Holy Redeemer this year. 

To end the evening, those in attendance sang together “America the Beautiful,”  and Father Hughes then invited them to a reception in the community room of the church.