A special service encompassing and celebrating many faiths from around the world will take place at 7 p.m. Nov. 24 at First United Methodist Church, 305 E. Anapamu St. Sponsored by the Greater Santa Barbara Area Clergy Association, the annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service reflects the variety of faith communities and allows many from a wide spectrum of religious affiliations to gather together and share in giving thanks. The clergy association includes clergy and religious leaders from more than 100 local faith communities. Elements in the service will be represented by Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, Universalist, Catholic and Protestant traditions.

This year’s guest speaker will be Rabbi Steve Cohen of Congregation B’nai B’rith, who will speak on “These and These are the Words of the Living God: Disagreement for the Sake of Heaven.” Cohen will share insights from Jewish tradition into the age-old but still current problem of how to listen to and live with those with whom we disagree. How do we prevent our passionately held convictions from making us our neighbor’s enemy?

Cohen came to serve as rabbi of Congregation B’nai B’rith, 1000 San Antonio Creek Road, in 2004, after 19 years as rabbi and executive director of the Hillel Foundation at UCSB. A native of Rochester, N.Y., Cohen received his undergraduate degree in American History from Harvard University in and Rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He and his wife, Marian, have two children, Rachel and Ari.

The Community Interfaith Thanksgiving Service will feature an Interfaith Choir. To allow participation from the greatest number of faith traditions, all worship music in the service will be sung without instrumental accompaniment. This year the optional offering will go to CALM (Child Abuse Listening and Mediation). A light reception will follow the service.

The community is invited to join in this inspiring and meaningful celebration! Parking is available behind First United Methodist Church on the corner of East Anapamu and Garden streets, with entry from Garden. Click here for more information, or call 805.963-3579.

— Suzanne McAdams represents the Greater Santa Barbara Area Clergy Association.