Interfaith Community Gives Thanks
Barrington's annual Interfaith Service of Thanksgiving drew hundreds to Temple Habonim Monday evening.
Hundreds of worshipers from all of Barrington’s faith communities gathered at Temple Habonim Monday night, Nov. 19, for the annual Interfaith Service of Thanksgiving.
They heard plenty of music, prayed together and sang together.
And they were asked to remember at Thanksgiving all those people who are the most vulnerable – the poor, the elderly, the disabled and the homeless.
Maxine Richman of Temple Habonim, the co-chair of the Rhode Island Interfaith Coalition to Reduce Poverty, took a few minutes between songs and prayers and readings to raise awareness of the impact of poverty in Rhode Island -- even in Barrington, one of Rhode Island’s most affluent communities.
“One in five children in Rhode Island live in poverty,” Richman said. “That’s the highest child poverty rate in New England. Two point seven percent of children live below the poverty line in Barrington.”
There are also 119 families in Barrington on food stamps, she said. That is a more than 200 percent increase since 2005.
“We need, as all our faiths teach us, to protect the most vulnerable,” Richman said. “We must eliminate poverty … so that each Rhode Islander can reach their full potential.”
Decisions must be made with compassion in Rhode Island, she said, starting at the State House.
The musical groups providing music at the interfaith service included the St. Luke’s Choir, the St. John’s Episcopal Church Quartet, the St. James Lutheran Church Praise Band, the Chancel Choir at Barrington Presbyterian Church, the Ruach Singers at Temple Habonim and the brand new Interfaith Community Chorus. It formed on Sunday, Nov. 18, and opened and closed the service by engaging the congregation in song.
Other speakers included Rabbi Andrew Klein of Temple Habonim, the Rev. Jeffrey Larsen of Barrington Congregational Church and the Rev. Andrew Simon of St. James Lutheran. They are all members of the Barrington Clergy Association, which organized the service.
“What a wonderful turnout,” Klein said. “We have all come together as a larger Barrington community tonight. The Thanksgiving season is getting off to a thankful and grateful beginning.”