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Thanksgiving service represents new volunteer approach

The Interfaith Council of the Inland Northwest, now a volunteer-run organization, is planning the annual Interfaith Thanksgiving service on “Being Grateful” at 10 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 23, at St. Aloysius Church, 330 E. Boone.

Mamdouh El-Aarag, president of the Spokane Islamic Center, is the keynote speaker.

Second Harvest of the Inland Northwest will provide four donation barrels at church entrances for food.  The offering will benefit both Second Harvest and the Interfaith Council.

The service will celebrate unity in diversity with inclusion of traditional Chinese line dancing, flute music by Charlie Rising Run, a Sufi poem and interfaith blessings by representatives of such faith communities as Hindu, Sikh, Native Spirituality, Jewish, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim and Baha’i in languages of presenters.

A subcommittee of the council, led by Joe Urlacher, council secretary, is planning the service.

“When we live up to the highest standards of each of our faith’s wonderful teachings, there is hope,” he said.

In its move to be volunteer run, Joe said the council plans to end programs such as the Circle of Caring domestic violence program and to spin off the Faith and Environment Network.

The Interfaith Council will focus on continuing some if its traditional events plus offer opportunities for dialogue among the different faiths on topics that affect the community.

Board members include Elliot Fabric from the Jewish community; Steve Rorie, Buddhist; Joe, Baha’i; Erin Bartlett, Catholic; Sonny Ybarra, Gonzaga Prep; Percy Watkins, Baptist; Prahash Bhuta, Hindu; Rowena Pineda, United Methodist, and Aabidar Dar, Muslim.

Richard Schoen of the Baha’i community is the volunteer director and administrator in the office from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays.

The council plans to continue the Legislative Conference in January, Camp PEACE, the Easter Sunrise service, CROP Walk, the Sept. 21 International Peace Day, the Thanksgiving service and providing church mailing lists.  Committees will be responsible for planning those events.

The council’s goal is to have an event or a dialogue each month.

Jason Duba of the Faith and Environment Network plans to continue that program, operating out of Central Lutheran Church.

For information, call 329-1410.

By Mary Stamp, The Fig Tree - Copyright © November 2006