The OneJax Institute at the University of North Florida will celebrate its 101st annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Gratitude Service 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, at Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church, 4001 Hendricks Ave., Jacksonville. A fellowship reception will follow at 7 p.m.
This annual service has taken place in Jacksonville since 1918 and pays homage to the sacred passages, prayers, songs and traditions that exalt gratitude for the community’s blessings.
“If ever there was a need to be reminded that we aren’t alone and that, despite our differences, we share many of the same values and beliefs, it’s right now,” said Nancy Broner, executive director of OneJax. “Our country is very divided, we’ve endured unprecedented natural disasters and have witnessed unexplainable acts against innocent victims. In the midst of all this, the interfaith service reminds us to treat one another with kindness, to be grateful for all that we have and to approach each other with compassion.”
This year, more than a dozen faiths and traditions will be represented. Expressions of gratitude from each tradition will include representatives from the Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Native American faiths, among others.
The service is free and open to the public. Participants are encouraged to bring canned and dry goods, which will be donated to United Community Outreach Ministries. RSVP via the website or by calling (904) 620-1529.
Since 2012, OneJax has been an Institute of UNF. Through education, dialogue and community-building, OneJax works to make Northeast Florida a better place for everyone by celebrating differences and identifying all we have in common. Its core programs include an intensive, week-long teen diversity program called Metrotown; the LOUD (Leaders of United Diversity) program for Metrotown graduates to bring the message of respect and appreciation for religious, racial and cultural differences into their schools; periodic interfaith and community forums for public dialogue on diversity and community building; as well as continued advocacy in working to promote issues of importance to the OneJax mission.
In addition, OneJax partners with the UNF College of Education and Human Services on Project Breakthrough, an initiative to change the story of race in Jacksonville. The organization also partners with The Florida Times-Union, WJCT Public Broadcasting and the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission on local Civil Discourse Forums, promoting civil conversations around difficult or uncomfortable topics and issues.