By Jane Keller Gordon, Contributing Writer
Westborough – Members of Westborough’s interfaith community came together to worship at their annual Community Thanksgiving Service Nov. 21 at the Gurdwara Sahib, the New England Sikh Study Circle’s (NESSC) new temple. Congregations of the Westborough Interfaith Association* sponsored the event.
This year’s theme, “One Human Family,” was taken from the poem “Human Family” by Maya Angelou. Her verse, “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike,” was spoken by representatives from many faiths.
Rev. Elizabeth Kubota of the First United Methodist Church played “America, the Beautiful,” on the piano to start the event.
What followed was a remarkable display of community. Through music and words, Christian, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu and Muslim leaders each communicated the meaning of “One Human Family” and Thanksgiving.
“The Sikh community feels blessed to hold this event,” Kawaljit Singh Mokha of the NESSC said.
“Churches or synagogues have always been the host in previous years… At the Sikh Gurdwara… what better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than by coming together with people from many different religions and cultural backgrounds and giving thanks for our many blessings!” Pastor Jeff Goodrich of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church said.
Congregation B’nai Shalom’s Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz echoed Pastor Goodrich’s sentiments.
“Over the past few years, the Westborough Interfaith Thanksgiving has become increasingly reflective of the breadth of the interfaith diversity in our town. To be able to celebrate this year in the newly opened Sikh Gurdwara is a wonderful way to continue to introduce the citizens of our town to each other,” she said.
Reflecting the diversity of those in attendance, Safdar Medina said, “As a Muslim who grew up in North America, I have always valued our cultural mosaic; the more I reach out the more I realize that faiths have more similarities than differences. As a community, the things that unite us are always strong, and really nothing divides us.”
The collection benefited the Refugee Immigration Ministry (RIM). This nonprofit interfaith organization, based in Malden, “… (brings) volunteers from many cultures and faiths to provide community-based services to uprooted and often isolated persons,” according to its website.
Rev. Dr. Ruth H. Bersin, RIM’s Executive Director, spoke eloquently about those helped by RIM.
Closing the service, Amandeep Singh, NESSC’s secretary, said, in typical Sikh fashion, “Do not leave, there is food downstairs.”
* The Westborough Interfaith Association includes Chapel of the Cross, Chinmaya Mission Swaranjali, Congregation Beth Tikvah, Congregation B’nai Shalom, Congregational Church of Westborough, First United Methodist Church, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, New England Sikh Study Circle, New Hope Chapel, St. Luke the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, and Unitarian Universalist Congregational Society.
Photos/Jane Keller Gordon