To The Daily Sun,
Seventy-five people will look upon the American flag flying high in the Pleasant Street circle a little differently after attending an interfaith Thanksgiving service held Nov. 22. The people who attended the joint interfaith worship service put together by the Greater Laconia Ministerial Association and the Immigration Integration Program were profoundly moved, filled with joy, hope and pride in our country.
Gathered as one in celebration of Thanksgiving for all the blessing we each enjoy, Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Unitarians, Buddhist and people of no religious affiliation celebrated the diversity of this nation.
Mayor Ed Engler told of his great-grandparents speaking their native language at family gatherings. Gerie Pingol spoke of the joy of getting a green card and knowing his family will remain together after 16 years of working and living in the United States. Irene Gordon spoke about her Jewish family leaving their native country of Germany in 1939 out of fear and persecution. Egon Schuster spoke of his father being taken from their home by the Russians and being forced out of his small German village during World War II. Seifu Ragassa spoke of being a political refugee from Ethiopia in the 1990s and landing in Laconia. All expressed joy and great gratitude for the blessings of being in America. Three of the four speakers are now U.S. citizens and demonstrated a strong patriotism and love for a county that welcomed and gave them a chance for safety and a new life.
Voices of different faiths and different cultures joined together in song....."We Gather Together," "This Land is Our Land," and "America the Beautiful," was truly a moving time of fellowship, worship and unity.
Today we give thanks for Mayor Ed Engler, who had the vision to obtain grant funding and for hiring Kate Bruchacova to be the coordinator of the Immigration Integration Program. We are grateful that we have this program in our community.
During this season of Thanksgiving ...let us each celebrate and give thanks for the blessings we enjoy as residents in this amazing community and spectacularly beautiful region. Let us look upon the American flag flying in the center of our community with a little more joy, a little more hope and hearts filled with thanksgiving.
Blessings and Thanksgiving.
The Greater Laconia Ministerial Association
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