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Interfaith Prayer Circle Celebrates Thanksgiving in Dusseldorf


Dusseldorf, Germany – An interfaith prayer circle, organized by the local UPF chapter, was held in Dusseldorf on October 23, 2023. The theme was giving thanks for the harvest, in light of the Feast of St. Michael. A beautifully decorated table was adorned with gifts of nature. After greetings among the participants, Mr. Frank Bernhard from the Old Lutheran Church explained the meaning of the celebration.

 

He emphasized that many people in urban areas today have little idea of where their food comes from and how much work is involved, from the seed grain to the meal on the table. Mr. Bernhardt went on to explain that in the past, September marked the end of the year in many rural societies and farming activities. At this time, the harvest ends and preparations for the winter begin. In the fall, weather conditions are usually more stable and milder than in the winter, allowing the harvest to be completed and preparations to be made for the winter, such as bringing in fodder and repairs. At the same time, this allowed farm workers to prepare for other activities or look for winter employment.

 

St. Michael's Day is celebrated on September 29. It marks the end of the harvest season and has a religious connection to the archangel Michael. In contrast, Thanksgiving is more of a general celebration in which thanks are expressed for the harvest and the gifts of nature. While Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for the harvest, the Feast of St. Michael is also a time to ask for help and protection from the approaching winter.

 

Mr. Bernhardt also addressed the issue of sustainability, the importance of valuing and respecting the earth's resources and ensuring that they are preserved for future generations. Finally, he emphasized that everything comes from God and is in His hands, and that gratitude is due for His goodness and generosity. He also addressed the equitable distribution of food in the world and emphasized the moral obligation to ensure that no one in the world goes hungry.

 

Mr. Bernhardt's presentation was well-received and evoked a round of discussion, followed by prayer. In view of the current global unrest, participants agreed, it was important to imagine what a world of peace could look like. Each person recited a prayer on this theme, expressing hopes that no person in this world would go hungry, that all wars would end and people would reach out to each other, embrace and help each other rebuild after destruction, and that all children in the world would receive education and be able to develop their talents to enrich the world.

 

It was a moving experience to envision a world of peace and send positive thoughts and prayers into the world. The inspiring event brought a sense of unity to a community of different religions.


By Anja Brina, UPF-Germany October 23, 2023

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