Bethesda to host interfaith Thanksgiving service

Originally printed in the Palm Beach Daily News

By Michele Dargan
Daily News Staff Writer

When the Rev. Monsignor Thomas Klinzing realized that St. Edward Catholic Church needed to replace its entire air conditioning system, he was told that the work might not be finished by Thanksgiving.

At that point, Klinzing realized he needed to line up another island house of worship to host the community’s annual interfaith Thanksgiving service, because it was St. Ed’s turn to host it this year. The participating Christian and Jewish houses of worship rotate the hosting duties each year.

“I couldn’t take the chance that it would be a hot day and people would be throwing hymnals at me,” Klinzing said with a laugh.

Even though The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea hosted the service last year, the Rev. James Harlan, rector of Bethesda, offered to present the service again this year. This will be Harlan’s second time participating in the Palm Beach service, since he was hired on as rector last year.

The service will take place at 10 a.m. Thursday at Bethesda, 141 S. County Road.

“Father James graciously offered to use Bethesda and the ladies of St. Edward Guild volunteered to help out with the reception afterward,” Klinzing said.

“Our good friends at St. Ed’s were in a pinch, and we were happy to help,” Harlan said. “The service is important, and we want people to come and enjoy time together. All the clergy are committed to making it a great service every year, and we felt we could jump in and help when needed.”

In addition to Harlan and Klinzing, other island clergy who will be participating are: Rabbi Michael Resnick and Cantor David Feuer from Temple Emanu-El, the Rev. Robert Norris from the Royal Poinciana Chapel and the Rev. Dwight Stevens from the Paramount Church.

In 1972, the Rev. Hunsdon Cary, then rector of Bethesda and the Rev. Samuel Lindsay, then pastor of the Royal Poinciana Chapel, combined their worship services on Thanksgiving Day. Four years later, Temple Emanu-El and St. Edward Catholic Church joined the service. In 2005, the service expanded to include the Paramount Church. The houses of worship rotate each year to host the event.

“I had served in a big city before where those interfaith relationships were harder to find,” Harlan said. “I like that the clergy in Palm Beach are committed to being in relationship to one another. There’s just a genuine spirit of thankfulness and joy and being thankful we’re together. At least a few times a year we get together as people of faith, and that’s a huge gift to the community.”

 

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