The Bainbridge Island/North Kitsap Interfaith Council will hold its 13th annual community Thanksgiving service at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21.
The service will be hosted by St. Cecilia’s Parish and will include music, spoken reflections, prayers, readings and silent meditation from many local faith groups and traditions.
“This sharing of community devotions uplifts everyone who participates,” said Nancy Quitslund, president of the Interfaith Council.
This year’s theme for the service is, “In Gratitude for All Our Blessings, We Offer Help and Hope to Those in Need.” Featured speakers are Rev. Mark Travis, pastor of the Suquamish Community Congregational United Church of Christ, and Karen Vargas, youth minister at Emmanuel Apostolic Church in Bremerton.
All persons and ages are welcome, from any faith group or with no religious affiliation. Refreshments and fellowship will follow the service.
A freewill offering will be given to support the youth programs of The Coffee Oasis. In addition to selling coffee and serving breakfast and lunch, this nonprofit supports street-oriented youth with mentoring and job training at their cafés in Poulsbo, Bremerton and Port Orchard. They welcome donations of winter clothing, camping supplies, toiletries and snacks. The Coffee Oasis centers provide a place for youth to connect with others, share a meal, build friendships and access things that many take for granted, like showers, laundry and other resources.
Rev. Travis was ordained as a minister in the United Church of Christ in 1994 and previously served churches in rural New Hampshire, Seattle and Mercer Island. He is also a licensed marriage and family therapist and has lived on Bainbridge Island for the past eight years.
Vargas is well-known for her work as a youth mentor and advocate through her Living Life Leadership program in Kitsap County and Bainbridge Island. She works with schools, state and local agencies to support struggling students. In 2009, she was honored by the Kitsap County Human Rights Council Wall of Fame and named YMCA Woman of the Year. She is currently chairwoman of the Bainbridge Island School District’s Multicultural Advisory Committee.
The Bainbridge Island/North Kitsap Interfaith Council was formed in 1997 and now brings together 21 faith groups. The council meets on the first Thursday of every month from September to June and all faiths are welcome. Members work together to increase interfaith understanding and friendship, support the community, and lead celebrations such as the Interfaith Music Festival and the Interfaith Baccalaureate Service for high school graduates.
The council also participates in and promotes Crop Walk, Earth Day and various other community service activities.