A few hundred members of the Harrison community gathered Thursday night at the for a service that welcomed all religions and belief systems.
In reflecting on Thanksgiving, Br. Richard Morgado of the spoke of how individuals should “personally turn to our God, work to root out selfish [deeds], and must love our neighbors like ourselves.”
The service was sponsored by the Interfaith Congregational Layman's Committee of Harrison, which began in 1964 after various religious organizations and the police noted an increase in teen drug use, said Harrison resident and group chairperson Eleanor Russo.
It was a way to keep the community connected, she said. And, in a larger sense, it reinforced "understand[ing] and hav[ing] respect for your brother, no matter how they worship. They worship God in their way, and you in yours. There isn’t a difference between you and me."
Each year, the group, with representatives from area churches and synagogues, meets and discusses events that benefit all religions. The Muslim community has been involved for many years, said Russo.
The service included sermons and reflections from representatives of the Jewish Community Center of Harrison, Greek Orthodox Church of Our Savior, Church of St. Anthony of Padua, Purchase Meeting Religious Society of Friends and the Church of St. Gregory the Great.
Mayor/Supervisor Joan Walsh opened the service with a Thanksgiving Proclamation, and the Harrison High School Chorus led a community singing of "God Bless America."
A reception allowing members and worship representatives was held after the service.