There were no news cameras present at St. Gertrude Catholic Church Sunday as Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood gathered for its annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Prayer Service. That was to be expected. There is nothing alarming, sensational, or particularly newsworthy about several hundred people gathering in a church on a Sunday afternoon to sing and pray. But in this anxious moment in our national life, a wider audience might benefit from knowing what went on there. Muslims, Jews, and Christians gathered to give thanks, together.
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We listened to sacred texts chanted in Arabic and read in Hebrew and English. We listened as choirs of adults and children representing each house of worship offered their own sacred music. Muslim children from Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops carried in the bags and boxes of food to be donated to our neighborhood food bank. We spoke together prayers of thanks for our diverse neighborhood, which has one of the highest percentages of refugees in the city (including already a few Syrian families). We closed the hour by singing “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” and then gathering at the back of the sanctuary to socialize over cookies and samosas.
Religious leaders (from left) Rev. Douglas Harris of the North Shore Baptist Church; Rabbi Michael Zedek of the Emmanuel Congregation; Jamal Hussein of the Ismaili Center and Father Dominick Grassi of St. Gertrude Parish chat at an interfaith service Sunday at St. Gertude.Christians, Muslims, and Jews, people of other faiths and no faith, forming and celebrating community, living and working, playing and praying together. … This is the world I live in here in Chicago. This is the community for which I give thanks to God. This is the kind of neighborhood I pray will be multiplied across our nation and around the world.
Rev. Carol McVetty, pastor, North Shore Baptist Church
A true guardian angel
I’m writing this letter to give recognition to an off duty policeman who was the only person to come to the aid of my daughter after an accident in the snowstorm this weekend. So many times we hear complaints about police officers so I wanted to give due respect to this man who I consider to be her guardian angel/hero.
On this Nov. 21 during the snowstorm my daughter was driving down eastbound 290 when she was struck by a hit and run driver and did three 360s into the guardrail while the driver sped off. Fortunately, she had her seat belt on but she still hit her head on the steering wheel. She managed to pry open her door while being disoriented, and she guessed maybe 10 minutes went by before one car finally pulled over to help.
To her luck that Good Samaritan happened to be an off duty Berwyn police officer by the name of John Fitzgerald. He made sure she was all right, put her in his car and took her to her grandmother’s house, exactly where she was originally going.
There had to be many people who witnessed this and never bothered to stop to see if whoever was in the car was all right. I thank Officer John Fitzgerald of the Berwyn Police Department for going out of his way and noticing my daughter in distress and in need of help
John Ohse, Plainfield
Too much litter
Chicago is known as The Windy City, but now that winter is coming it will be known as “The Junkyard City.” This is because Chicago allows people to litter the streets under what they call “dibs.”
It is against the law to litter. It is also it is against the law to block traffic Then they complain about streets not being plowed. I cannot understand why the city fails to write tickets for those violations.
If everyone in the city put junk on the streets, no one would be able to go anywhere.
Ted Schwartz, Brookfield