The Bristol Interfaith Coalition is looking to hold its annual interfaith Thanksgiving service, and as part of that service it’s aiming to raise support to help relocate an Afghani refugee family to the New Britain area.
The service begins at 7:30 p.m. and will be live-streamed from the First Congregational Church with Pastor Kristen Kleiman leading an incorporation of live and pre-recorded activities from a variety of faiths and communities in the greater Bristol area. Six other individuals will also be present to lead prayers and music.
“Our theme this year is ‘Welcoming the Stranger,’” said coalition co-founder Laura Minor. “We’re living in times that are divisive and times where welcoming people who might be different from us has become challenging. It’s a good reminder that many of us came here from other places, some in bondage, and others came here looking for a place to create a home. This is a good reminder to be grateful for all we have in this wonderful country and to be welcoming to others who want to make this country their home as well.”
Several Christian denominations will be represented, both Catholic and Protestant, pagan spiritualists, Muslims, Sikhs, members of the Jewish faith, members of the Baha’i community as well as those following Native American spiritual traditions.
Minor said that handbell choirs are anticipated to be part of the service as well as other forms of music and individuals of a variety of faiths lending their thoughts in the form of pre-recorded video.
In the spirit of giving and thanks, the Bristol Interfaith Coalition is supporting the efforts of Simsbury United Methodist Church’s Welcoming Project. The church serves as a co-sponsor of the Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services program and has notably already raised $15,000 to go towards the family’s support. The initiative seeks to assist the Afghani family in furnishing and obtaining a new living space, enrolling its children in school and helping them adjust to a new community.
Those who wish to join the service electronically may do so by watching a live presentation from the coalition’s Facebook page as well as the YouTube channel for First Congregational Church of Bristol. Those attending are asked to arrive at the service 10 minutes early to ensure access. Contact email@example.com for more information.
Those interested in donating to the Welcoming Project may make a check to Simsbury United Methodist Church and put the word “refugee” in the memo line, said Minor, and mail it to the church at 799 Hopmeadow St., Simsbury, CT 06070. Others may also use the Venmo app by searching “Simsbury-UMC” and adding the word “refugee” to their comment. More information can also be found at the church’s website. Others may also donate at the Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services program website.