The significance of Thanksgiving and the Feast of Saint Michael or Michaelmas was the topic of the Interfaith Prayer Circle held on October 23, 2023. After a welcoming round and time to admire a table beautifully decorated with some of nature’s bounteous gifts, our speaker, Mr. Frank Bernhard from the Old Lutheran Church explained the meaning of these celebrations.

He emphasized that many urban dwellers have little idea of where our food comes from and how much work is involved before a seed becomes part of a meal on the table. Mr. Bernhardt went on to explain that in the past, September marked the end of the year in many rural communities because this is when the harvest ends and farmers start to prepare for the winter by bringing in fodder, doing necessary repair work and the workers seek winter employment.

St. Michael's Day or Michaelmas marks the end of the harvest season and is celebrated on September 29. It is named after the archangel Michael and thus has a religious foundation. It is also a time to ask for protection and help for the winter ahead. Thanksgiving, however, is more of a general or secular celebration of gratitude for the harvest and gifts of nature.

Mr. Bernhardt also addressed the issue of sustainability, the importance of valuing and respecting the earth's resources and ensuring that they are preserved for future generations. Finally, he emphasized that since everything comes from God and is in His hands, we should be grateful for His goodness and generosity. He also stressed the importance of equitable food distribution because we have a moral obligation to ensure that no one in the world goes hungry.

The presentation was well received and stimulated inspiring discussion. In the ensuing prayer time, we tried to imagine a world of peace despite current global unrest. Our prayers focused on an end to world hunger and war, for mankind to extend to and embrace each other, and for all children to receive an education allowing them to develop their talents to enrich the world.

It was a moving experience to envision a world of peace and to send out positive thoughts and prayers. Although a community of different religions, we felt united.

Report: Anja Brina

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