Interfaith service: Community, like Pia the troll, has heart

The 19th Annual Community Interfaith Thanksgiving Service was held Nov. 21 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Bainbridge Island.

The theme was “Caring for Community.”

The opening prayer was sung in Arabic by a Bahai member, Sholpan Yerezheva. That was followed by a prayer from Bishop Mike Brooks from the host church. Members of the congregation came forward to light a candle and identify their church. A tray of burning votives at the front of the church enlightened the platform and symbolized light from every Interfaith Council membership.

Jordan Pitre, from Grace Episcopal Church, played a Chopin Impromptu to accompany the candle lighting.

Music was provided by the choir of the LDS, Grace and the Eagle Harbor Congregational United Church of Christ.

An A cappella Appalachian song, “Now is the Cool of the Day,” was sung by Barbara Hume and an original song by Dinah Satterwhite was sung by Jessica Henderson, “Fishes for the Soul”.

The handbell choir from Rolling Bay Presbyterian church accompanied the offering. This year’s recipient organization was Kitsap Immigration Assistance Center. Two representatives explained the organization help immigrants in many ways.

There was a reading about gratitude by Trinka Wasik and Tom Berg from First Church of Christ, Scientist, and a poem “In Praise of the Earth read by Jennifer Wilhoit, Interfaith practitioner.

The keynote speaker was Dee Eisenhauer, Eagle Harbor pastor. She spoke about how the building of Pia the Peacekeeper, the troll installed in Sakai Park, is a metaphor for caring and working for community.

“Troll hero (shero) Dawn Janow said that early in the process of planning to bring a troll here someone in a (parks) board meeting raised a reasonable question (not in a mean way): ‘What is the point?’ Dawn recalls talking about joy, about bringing something joyful to the community that would bring people together.”

Eisenhauer also explained how Pia got a heart, which was not in the original design. Janow asked about it, and someone used materials on hand to make one. The pastor also said the material used to build Pia was primarily pallets, which aren’t pretty but serviceable—just like members of the faith community are here to serve.

“You know, our spiritual and nonprofit communities don’t always get attention or respect. We can even feel practically invisible at times…Yet at our best we are functioning as the heart of this community: to bring more compassion, more peace, more justice, more love, more hope, more joy to this place.”

The evening concluded with the congregation singing “Let There be Peace on Earth.”