Palisadians of different faiths gathered at Pacific Palisades Presbyterian Church on Nov. 25 to worship and give thanks.
The annual Thanksgiving service organized by the Pacific Palisades Ministerial Association carried special significance this year as Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben of Kehillat Israel and Reverend Betsy Anderson of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church prepare to retire next year.
Reuben, who has spent 28 years in service and plans to retire as senior rabbi in June, gave the homily. Although he plans to remain involved in the community, Reuben said speaking at the event in his final year as senior rabbi was special.
Reuben said he is proud of how much the ministerial association has accomplished throughout the years by bringing Palisadians together for events that raise money for charity. The rabbi recently started wearing a wristband that represents all of the world’s major religions.
“I wore it to remind myself that every day should be like this day,” he said of the service.
One of the main goals of the event is to break down barriers and increase understanding of people with different religious beliefs.
“We live in a world where in so many ways we’re divided and there’s so much fear of others that every time we can come together in different religious communities, it helps build bridges,” Reuben said.
During the homily, he shared several anecdotes that encouraged the audience members to overcome their fears and reach their full potential. “If you’re here, you’ve got a higher purpose,” he said.
Reverend Eric Schaefer of the Presbyterian Church said the annual Thanksgiving service is one of his favorite days of the year.
Attendees were encouraged to meet new people. Food and drinks were served after the service, and most of the attendees stayed to engage in fellowship with others.
The choir was made up of singers from seven local religious communities.
“I thought it was beautiful,” Diane Croskey said after the service. She and Julie Baczewski said it is important for the community to come together.
“The church represents a very important part of the community,” said Brother Satyananda of the Self-Realization Fellowship. “[People who attend the service] come to appreciate the calm of the faith and the church.”
Community United Methodist, Corpus Christi and Palisades Lutheran are also part of the association.
Reuben ended his homily with a traditional Hebrew/English song that he performed with his wife. After the service, attendees stopped to thank Reuben and Anderson for their service.
Anderson will retire Feb. 2 and plans to take Sabbatical time but has no other plans except to spend time with her family, including her two new grandsons. “It was very special to be there,” she said of the service.
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