Temple Beth Shalom and First Congregational Church of Hudson, both in Hudson, partnered with Christ Church Episcopal in Shaker Heights on Nov. 22 for a virtual interfaith Thanksgiving service.
The evening’s motto was: “Wherever you are on your journey ... you are welcome here.”
Christ Church Episcopal started with a prelude, followed by, “Yotzeir Or: Creator of Light,” sung by the virtual choir of Temple Beth Shalom.
Next up was a call to worship and interfaith songs of healing before scripture lessons from all three houses of worship.
Rabbi Michael Ross of Temple Beth Shalom, the Rev. Peter Wiley of First Congregational Church of Hudson and the Rev. Charlotte Collins Reed of Christ Church Episcopal led the night’s service, wearing masks.
During the service, Ross spoke of the daily bike rides he took with his son during the pandemic.
“I wanted to give him a chance to view pandemic life from a bicycle seat, where he could choose which path he wanted to go on, where he could go where he wanted to go with his father alongside him, and we could go exploring and stay safe,” Ross said.
Starting around Passover and Easter, they rode together nearly everyday for the next 10 weeks.
“Strengthening our legs, enjoying the coming Spring, building trust in our friendship and facing the uncertainty of pandemic life,” Ross said. “Summer came along, he started playing with the next door neighbor who entered into our pod, and I continued the bike rides by myself. Throughout the summer, hopping onto that bike, pushing myself, every ride, to be radically present with my silence, to be radically present with my heart and to let the chaos go, and every day, the chaos subsided, and every stride on that bike, I felt a presence alongside me. So when I’m thinking about gratitude, my first stop is here on the bicycle.”
The evening’s offertory went towards supporting the Open M Free Medical Clinic, a medical facility dedicated to reducing health disparities and providing patient-centered services to people with limited access to medical care in Summit County, where enrolled patients receive all services, including medications and diabetic supplies, free of charge.