The needler in the haystack.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What ever happened to Plainfield's interfaith Thanksgiving service?


Jennie Branscombe's 20th-century impression of Thanksgiving
is in response to WASP anxieties over newer immigrants (see more here).
Image from Wikipedia.

What ever happened to Plainfield's interfaith Thanksgiving service?

Plainfield
ers used to gather on Thanksgiving Eve for an annual interfaith service hosted by the local ministerial association. But I cannot recall such a communitywide religious service for nearly fifteen years.

The last one that comes to mind was jointly led by a minister, a rabbi and an imam and was held at Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church.

Not only can I not recall a more recent service, I am unaware that the clergy of Plainfield have any kind of organization or even get together informally to discuss common concerns.

Thanksgiving Day has a long and convoluted history in the United States. The original celebration in 1621 combined Pilgrim and Wampanoag harvest festivities and featured a communal feast, sporting and games (see here, and here).

For the Pilgrims, it was an opportunity to continue the English Harvest Home customs (see here).

A Day of Thanksgiving was a strictly religious observance, a development of those Calvinist-inspired Protestants who wished to reform the governance and ceremonies of the Church of England.

Those reformers eventually divided into two groups -- the Puritans, who remained in the Church of England, and the Separatists (also referred to as Pilgrims), who withdrew and formed independent congregations.

It was among the Pilgrims at Plimouth Colony that the first Thanksgiving service was held in 1623 (see here).

Relations between the Pilgrims of Plymouth and the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony were tense and often antagonistic (see here), a fact which has been lost in America's hazy consciousness of its own history.

Have we now completed the circle in Plainfield by forgetting any sense of communal thanksgiving and having only a day of feasting and games?



  -- Dan Damon [follow]


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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving to all

Anonymous said...

Plainfield has an Clergy organization called Greater Central Jersey Clergy, Rev. Gary Kirkwood is the president.They meet once a month.The Only service I know of is The Annual Thanksgiving service held at Ruth Fellowship Ministries where Rev. Tracey Brown is the Pastor.She has a service for the community on Thanksgiving Day from 8:00AM to 9:00AM. sincerely, Rev.Shay

Dan said...

Thank you, Rev. Shay.