Nevada Interfaith Thanksgiving Service – Thirty-Sixth Annual

An Attitude of Gratitude
A Worship Service of Prayer and Music
From A Variety of Faith Traditions
Sponsored by the Nevada Interfaith Association

We come together as God’s children to enrich our lives through interfaith experience.
During the service individuals from various faiths will express praise and thanks according to their faith traditions.
Portions of this service have also been selected to represent those elements of worship that are shared by all our traditions.

Sunday, November 21, 2021, 7:00 PM
Immaculate Conception Catholic Church
2900 N McCarran Blvd, Sparks, NV 89431

*Masks are required

Event Information

A Clarification on NIA’s Political Positions

A Clarification on NIA’s Political Positions

To: Nevada Interfaith Association
From: Nevada Interfaith Association’s President

Nevada Interfaith Association’s goal continues to be to promote a favorable climate for diverse religious expression. We have operated successfully as a varied religious body for many years. As an organized multi-faith community we pray for the leaders of our city and state communities.

We are aware of many varied political opinions in this unsettled time. We do not support nor subscribe to a political bent, nor do we circulate or distribute to our membership and mailing list any who would desire to use our email platform for that purpose. 

Our mission continues: “The Nevada Interfaith Association (NIA) fosters the sharing of information among all faiths, advancing multi-faith participation and promoting a climate favorable to diverse religious expression in Nevada. NIA upholds religious freedom and liberty in Nevada under the First Amendment to the US Constitution. Accordingly, NIA offers the service of forwarding information from members, associates, and affiliates to the NIA email listserv. Emails that are not contrary to NIA’s purpose will be transmitted but must not be political in nature.

Messages that are demeaning, hateful or unkind will not be transmitted to the listserv. NIA reserves the right to decline to forward an email that does not meet the above stated criteria as determined by NIA officers under their complete discretion.  Finally, by this email, NIA neither endorses or supports the organization originating the contents of this email. Therefore, NIA takes no responsibility for the message and opinions disclosed by the original sender.

President’s message for 2020

President’s message for 2020

President’s message for 2020

NIA’s 2020 history was marred by the limitation in gathering due to Covid 19. However, before the

lockdown., NIS held the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday committee service which was held at the

McKinley arts and Cultural Center. As is tradition, the event encompassed music, multifaith prayers and

reflections and the presentation of the Onie Cooper Humanitarian award which went this year to

Bernice Matthews, a long time resident of Reno and Nevada. Mrs. Mathews was recognized for her

many, many contributions including former state senator and administrator of higher education.

Receiving the award, Mrs. Mathews admonished the audience to do more to support and mentor the

youth of our community who are the promise of the future. She added to her spotlight moment by

sharing her wit and charm, delighting the audience with her comments.

In place of the Nevada Prayer Breakfast, a unique prayer service program, presented remotely from

each participant’s home or place of worship, was crafted together and presented. It was noted that the

number of viewers for this first ever virtual experience was considerable. Our Coordinating Council

members, Rabbi Ben Zober and Rev. Matthew Fisher’s technical skill enabled NIA to present this

outreach to the community during this stressful time on Facebook.

The official election of officers took place. Pastor Sara Johnson was elected president, Pamela

Kellerstrass as secretary, and Patricia Meidell, past present, as treasurer. Father Chuck Durante was

elected to the Council replacing Sean Savoy who resigned from the Coordinating Council but who

remains as the liaison in our partnership with the Renown Spiritual Center and technical advisor to NIA

as needed for events.

Following the state mandated restriction for socially distancing and the ability not to gather, the annual

Thanksgiving Program was remotely filmed for each participant and crafted together for presentation on

Facebook by the assistance of JB Benna. Father Chuck Durante was the featured speaker with his

message entitled, “One in Origin, One in Healing” and Father William Stomski presented the history of

the Thanksgiving holiday. Musical numbers graced the program. Galena High School President, Taylor

Pickett, was the youth participant and represented the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

In all, 2020 was challenging for each council member’s religious affiliation. The coordinating council

missed the camaraderie that we share by coming together in fellowship and support as a group.

“Zooming” became our communication medium as we strived to keep the momentum of NIA going.

The holding of a youth leadership conference was out of the question but due to our guest speaker’s

availability for the 2019 event, it was held February 2020 before Covid 19 hit with all its closure and

restrictions. We are hoping to get back on track in 2022 with another Youth event.

Due to the added pressures of work during the Pandemic, as well as family and health issues, Pastor

Sarah Johnson requested to remain on the Coordinating Council but to relinquish her position as

President. A special meeting of the Coordinating Council was held and an interim president was

appointment until next year’s election in April. Past president, Pat Meidell, agreed to resume the

President’s duties until that time when Father Chuck Durante was proposed to full that position in our

regular election year.

 

Submitted by Pat Meidell, President

Letter from Nevada Interfaith Association on Discrimination and Social Injustice

Letter from Nevada Interfaith Association on Discrimination and Social Injustice

“What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8) “By love alone is hatred ended, this is an eternal law.“ (Dhammapada 1:5)

Statement Against Discrimination and Injustice

As people of faith we condemn in the strongest terms the brutal murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week. We stand together and open our hearts to the suffering of our brothers. We want everyone who reads this to know, “Your life matters to us!” We work for justice through education, prayer, and reconciliation. We will not stop until there is justice for all people.

The deeper pain, however, is that this was not an isolated incident. Breonna Taylor, an EMT, was shot by Louisville Police officers serving a “no-knock warrant” (March 13, 2020). Dreasjon Reed, of Indianapolis was shot by an Indianapolis Police officer (May 6, 2020). And now George Floyd has been killed by police in Minneapolis while begging for his life (May 25, 2020). It’s not just history, but it has sadly become a part of the fabric of American life.

We are people of faith. Commitment to racial justice and reconciliation is embedded in our identity as spiritual people. This good work is happening in communities of faith. Now more than ever, it is our duty to champion justice. We also champion peace and support peaceful protest with its outpouring of accumulated frustration. For too long it has seemed that few cared when another black, brown or poor life was snuffed out. We seek true and sustained justice.

This must be sustained even when racist violence and police brutality are no longer front page news. Even when the work is not fashionable, ever difficult, and we are utterly alone. Putting our faith into action, despite color, class, or caste, is difficult. We pledge to continue until no one is degraded and disrespected by anybody. We will continue until this ultimate dream is realized. Violence against even one child of Earth cannot be condoned.

We follow another way … the way of love. Love is action as well as attitude. Love seeks the good, the well-being, and the welfare of others as well as one’s self. Out of love we listen and learn from marginalized communities, who are often suppressed. We call on all faith leaders to incorporate this grand vision of justice into personal and community prayer life, and to constructively engage in advocacy and public witness of our brothers and sisters who suffer.

Opening and changing hearts does not happen overnight. Our spiritual work is not a sprint, but a marathon. Our prayer and work for justice, healing and truth-telling must be unceasing. Let us all recommit ourselves to following the teachings and values of our faith communities and lead the way to healing, justice and love.

Nevada Interfaith Association Coordinating Council,

Lord of Mercy Lutheran Church, Rev. Sarah Johnson, NIA President and Pastor, Sparks, NV
A Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Pat Meidell, NIA Treasurer
A Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Pam Kellerstrass, NIA Sec
Sherman Baker, Chaplain (Colonel) Retired US Army
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Rev. Dr. William L. Stomski, Dean, Reno, NV
St. Thomas Aquinas Cathedral, Father Chuck Durante, Rector, Reno, NV
Reno Buddhist Center, Rev. Matthew Fisher, Resident Priest, Reno, NV
Northern Nevada Muslim Community, Dr. Sherif Elfass, President, Sparks, NV
Hindu statesman, Rajan Zed, Reno, NV
Baha’I, Dr Bradley Corbin

Sincerely,  

Nevada Interfaith Association Coordinating Council

Embracing Community In Prayer During Covid-19 Offerings from Northern Nevada’s Interfaith Community Sunday Morning Offering

Embracing Community In Prayer During Covid-19 Offerings from Northern Nevada’s Interfaith Community Sunday Morning Offering

To: Nevada Interfaith Association

From: Trinity Episcopal Cathedral


Embracing Community In Prayer During Covid-19 

Offerings from Northern Nevada’s Interfaith Community

Sunday Morning Offering

Please invite your friends and neighbors to join us: https://www.facebook.com/events/444889902987334

From the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible we have these words from the Prophet Jeremiah: “…the Lord says, who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him, for I am honored in the sight of the Lord, and my God has become my  strength,…” 

In these days of the Pandemic with the coronavirus COVID 19 pandemic we are very much aware of our fears, but more so, of our mortality. The Christian Church at this moment are in the final days of Lent, a season of penitential introspection and actions as we are reminded that the season began some 40 days prior with Ash Wednesday. The beginning of Lent was observed with ashes being placed on our foreheads with the words: “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Lent is a season that immediately strikes us with the reality of our own mortality.

But this is not a time of fear. Rather it is a challenge to seek the goodness that God has endowed us to have. We are nothing outside of the One who created us and breathed life into us. This is the Lord who gives and takes away, for we are created in God’s divine image to be God’s living presence with this earthly pilgrimage. When we pass from this world we die to this world, but not to life; we are simply changed and come into a new life in and through our God and Creator. This is what gives us the ability to know that no evil, even death, will have the victory. It is with such hope, grace and love that we are a “resurrection people,” able to love and support one another during good and bad times. Amen.


Submitted by the Very Rev. Dr. William L. Stomski

Dean and Rector, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral

Embracing Community In Prayer During Covid-19 Offerings from Northern Nevada’s Interfaith Community Sunday Afternoon Offering

Embracing Community In Prayer During Covid-19 Offerings from Northern Nevada’s Interfaith Community Sunday Afternoon Offering

To: Nevada Interfaith Association

From: Roman Catholic Diocese of Reno

 

Embracing Community In Prayer During Covid-19 

Offerings from Northern Nevada’s Interfaith Community

Sunday Afternoon Offering

Please invite your friends and neighbors to join us: https://www.facebook.com/events/444889902987334

Christians are not new to paradox.  We follow the One we believe to be “true God and true Man.”  We are commanded to love our enemies.   Jesus often told us “the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.”  Kingship means servanthood. We believe each human person is unique, special, unrepeatable – just like everyone else.  

God of all creation, in this time of widespread suffering and worry, help us to gain new insights into the marvels, the paradoxes, and the oneness of this creation.  In having to stay physically separate from one another, we now see clearly how interconnected the life of all humanity truly is.  We must be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.  St. Paul speaks this paradox: when I am weak, I am strong.  We acknowledge our weakness now, our craving for answers to these strange days, our fumbling to figure out best practices to save lives, our frustrations at misinformation, misunderstanding, and helplessness in the face of widespread suffering.  Help us to remember that in this state of weakness, our strength can be found in listening for your voice.  At this anxious time, we pray more fervently the paradoxical understandings of St. Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me bring love.

Where there is offense, let me bring pardon.

Where there is discord, let me bring union.

Where there is error, let me bring truth.

Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.

Where there is despair, let me bring hope.

Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.

Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.

O Master, let me not seek as much

to be consoled as to console,

to be understood as to understand,

to be loved as to love,

for it is in giving that one receives,

it is in self-forgetting that one finds,

it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,

it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.

 

Submitted by Rita Sloan

Coordinator, Life Peace & Justice Commission

Catholic Diocese of Reno

Embracing Community In Prayer During Covid-19 Offerings from Northern Nevada’s Interfaith Community Saturday Afternoon Offering

Embracing Community In Prayer During Covid-19 Offerings from Northern Nevada’s Interfaith Community Saturday Afternoon Offering

To: Nevada Interfaith Association

From: VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System

 

Embracing Community In Prayer During Covid-19 

Offerings from Northern Nevada’s Interfaith Community

Saturday Afternoon Offering 

Please invite your friends and neighbors to join us: https://www.facebook.com/events/444889902987334

God of wisdom, bless medical scientists and researchers around the world with insight and skill, dedication and fortitude, as they combat coronavirus, so that their work yields knowledge and understanding, speedily finding a vaccine, treatments and deterrents to its spread.  Grant public health and government officials the strength to act swiftly and decisively, with compassion and understanding,  In service to humankind, fighting this outbreak and the other diseases that still plague the planet, diseases threatening the lives of our brothers and sisters, nations and communities, young and old. Rock of Ages, bring an end to disease and suffering, so that all may know Your compassion and Your grace, we pray. Amen.

Submitted by Chaplain Sherman Baker

Chief, Chaplain Service

VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System

Embracing Community In Prayer During Covid-19 Offerings from Northern Nevada’s Interfaith Community Saturday Morning Offering

Embracing Community In Prayer During Covid-19 Offerings from Northern Nevada’s Interfaith Community Saturday Morning Offering

To: Nevada Interfaith Association

From: Spiritual Center, Renown Health

 

Embracing Community In Prayer During Covid-19 

Offerings from Northern Nevada’s Interfaith Community

Saturday Morning Offering

Please invite your friends and neighbors to join us: https://www.facebook.com/events/444889902987334


Blessed are the ones who cannot be isolated.

Blessed are the doctors, nurses, chaplains, and hospital staff.

Blessed are the hands that are raw from scrubbing and sanitizing.

Blessed are the shoulders that carry the weight of life and death.

Blessed are the feet that are aching from standing at bedside and running between rooms.

Blessed are the hearts that are frightened and breaking.

Blessed are the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers, partners and friends who cannot go home.

Blessed are those who sacrifice their own comfort so that we need not be alone in our suffering.

Blessed are those who look upon this sacred work as gift.

Blessed are those who have had enough.

Blessed are those who are overwhelmed.

Blessed are those who lack the space to process all that lies ahead.

Blessed are those weeping in secret corners of an emergency room so that we might see a strong face to meet our need.

Blessed are those who weep openly with us, so that even our tears have companions.

Blessed are you, O God: quietly holding each one of us along the way.


Adapted from ” A Blessing for Healthcare Workers in a Time of Pandemic”

from St Mary’s College in Indiana


God our Sanctuary, gather us when separated into your presence.

God our Physician, heal those who have contracted the virus.

God our Comforter, embrace all who mourn the dead.

God our Homeland, sustain all who are quarantined.

God our Friend, accompany all who are alone or afraid.

God our Guardian, protect physicians and nurses.

God our Hope, assist researchers searching for a vaccine.

God our Mighty Fortress, preserve our societies from devastation.

God our Governor, guide the leaders of nations toward wise policies.

God of Everlasting Arms, in you we live and move and have our being.

God our Creator, make once again a world of sabbath rest.

God our Savior, redeem the suffering world by your cross.

God our Light, shine your radiant peace into our darkness.


Adapted from “O God in our global distress”

by Gail Ramshaw

Submitted by Rev. Brent Hoy-Bianchi

Chaplain, Renown Health

Embracing Community During Covid-19 Friday Afternoon Offering

Embracing Community During Covid-19 Friday Afternoon Offering

To: Nevada Interfaith Association

From: Native American Community

Embracing Community In Prayer During Covid-19 

Offerings from Northern Nevada’s Interfaith Community

Friday Afternoon Offering

Please invite your friends and neighbors to join us: https://www.facebook.com/events/444889902987334

 

Dear God, Creator of all creation,

At times we are obstructed to pray. For we do not know where to begin. We wait on your guidance and illumination. During this time of a destructive pandemic, everyone is affected. We come to realize how interconnected we are one to another. We pause to realize the fragility of our existence. The relationships with nature, animals – our pets, ecologically – within our home, workplace, places of worship, and everyday gatherings. Our safe spaces have become places of concern and deliberation, may we find refuge in the secret place of the most high.

In these trying times of uncertainty, let us give thanks for all of Gods provision. We are grateful for clean air, clean water, and the land that sustains us. We are grateful for the relatives among us. We give thanks with a joyful heart for peace and comfort. Our admission of thanksgiving that we may, in turn, be able to give to others in their time of distress. We thank you for your Holy Spirit that is our Paracletus – comforter. Your blessings extends through us toward others in every way: physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually; holistically allow us to be image bearers of hope, faith, and charitable love.

We humble ourselves before your sight, we speak healing and restoration. We extend a petition of prayers spread as a woven blanket over humanity. We lift prayers to individuals, as well communities, as well as countries and nations. We pray for leaders in high positions and servants in meek service. Yet open our eyes that each are equal in gifting and talent essential for tasks set before them. As we grow closer to you allowing us to grow closer to one another.

Entrusted to the Almighty, your Kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Yeshua -JesuChristo you are our all in all, Great Physician, Prince of Peace, Mighty Counselor, Lord and Saviour. In you name we pray. All Benevolent Father,Son. and Holy Ghost- Divine Trinity.

 

Submitted by: 

Reverend Augustin Jorquez

Chaplain/Missionary, Pastor of Hungry Valley Christian Fellowship

 

Embracing Community During Covid-19 Friday Morning Offering

Embracing Community During Covid-19 Friday Morning Offering

To: Nevada Interfaith Association

From: Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada

 

Embracing Community In Prayer During Covid-19 

Offerings from Northern Nevada’s Interfaith Community

Friday Morning Offering

Please invite your friends and neighbors to join us: https://www.facebook.com/events/444889902987334


Spirit of Life and Love, Mystery of All,

We give thanks for the gifts of life, beauty, and joy even in these difficult times.

May our hearts be open to finding compassion for ourselves, our companions, and strangers. 

We pray for those who are sick that they might find healing and comfort. We pray for all medical workers who are putting themselves at risk on the front lines of this pandemic.

We pray for the leadership of our country, state, and community that they will have the fortitude to make 

the difficult decisions that will help eradicate the virus.

We pray for those working on vaccines and treatments, that they might find wisdom and stamina for their work.

We pray that everyone will shelter in place in order to take care of everyone else.

May this extraordinary time bring about transformation for humanity and our earth. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Karen Foster

Minister, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada