Area religious leaders gathered at the Peekskill Presbyterian Church Sunday for the 2012 Thanksgiving Inter-religious service.
The service, which is hosted by the Peekskill Area Pastors Association, or PAPA, featured hymns and prayers from multiple faiths in the community and musical selections from “Inti Andino South American Folkloric Ensemble,” Joseph Brady on bagpipes and PAPA’s Interfaith Choir.
Ronald Pankey, reverend at the Yorktown Nazarene Church and PAPA’s vice president, gave the sermon Sunday.
“We do a Thanksgiving service because it is something that everyone, at least in this country, can relate to—Thanksgiving and the idea of giving thanks,” said Bishop Michael J. Champion, president of the Peekskill Area Pastors Association and the pastor of the Parroquia Católica San José in Peekskill. “I think it’s important that we realize what we have, what we don’t have and where we have yet to go.”
Champion also said the service is another way for PAPA to remain active in the community and respond to the needs of the area’s diverse population. The mission of PAPA, which was formed about 150 years ago, is to foster communication among among religious leaders and address interfaith issues that will benefit communities in the greater Peekskill area.
During his sermon, Pankey spoke about the need of fostering community. Although each segment of the community may have a different way of thanking God, they all share a common link, according to Pankey.
“We gather together, not because of our differences, but because of our commonality,” Pankey said. “Our commonality tonight is our love. Our love for another. Our faith traditions may be different, but our faith traditions still compel us to reach out with love, concern and compassion for one another."