LENOX >> The 13th annual Thanksgiving Eve interfaith service at Church in the Hill will be an especially solemn occasion this year, according to Interim Minister Rick Chrisman.
The 6:30 p.m. service on Wednesday will include an offering of prayers for the healing of France, he said. "We'll also give thanks for our many blessings here art home," Chrisman added.
The tradition began in the late 1980s as an essentially Christian service, he said, and was expanded in 2003 by the newly arrived Rev. Natalie Shiras as an interfaith service. In addition to adding participation by Jewish congregations during her 12 years at Church on the Hill, Shiras occasionally included representatives of Islam and Native American faiths.
The church is a United Church in Christ congregation. The ecumenical all-faith community gathering is sponsored by the Lenox Clergy Association.
Participants include the Rev. Michael Tuck of Trinity Episcopal Church, who will be the speaker; the Rev. Janet Deranian of United Methodist Church; the Rev. Christopher J. Waitekus of St. Ann's Roman Catholic Church and St. Vincent de Paul Church, and Rabbi Joshua Breindel of Temple Anshe Amunim in Pittsfield.
Additional participating congregations include St. Helena's Chapel, Episcopal, in Lenox and Congregation Knesset Israel, Pittsfield.
Music will be provided by organist Anita Stuart, trumpeter Alex Kutik and members of the Cantilena Chamber Choir.
Readings include a prayer from Pope Francis's encyclical on climate change and income equality, and from the teachings of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, considered one of the 20th century's leading Jewish theologians and philosophers.
Offerings of canned goods and non-perishables will be conveyed to the Lenox Food Pantry, serving area families in need.
The historic Church on the Hill was built in 1805. It is at 169 Main Street; parking with shuttle service will be available from the nearby St. Ann's lot at 134 Main St.