Myriad Ways to Share Goodwill

Volunteers organize a communal Thanksgiving feast welcome to all residents.

From an interfaith service on Sunday to a prayer service and communal feast on Thanksgiving Day, Laguna Beach locals ready to give thanks for their blessings have plenty of opportunities to share the holiday’s goodwill.

The entire community is encouraged to attend the Laguna Beach Interfaith Council’s fifth annual Thanksgiving service at 7 p.m. this Sunday, Nov. 20, at St. Catherine of Siena, 1042 Temple Terrace.

A cross-section of Laguna’s churches will contribute to the hour-long service, including a slate of musical performances. The public is invited to bring donations of non-perishable food or monetary offerings for the Laguna Resource Center to support their food bank.

Among the service’s musical offerings will be a Native American flute performance by Rev. B.J. Beu of the Neighborhood Congregational Church; a rendition of “For the Beauty of the Earth” sung by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints choir, directed by Beth Sand and Ginny Story; and a hymn performed by members of the choir and the clergy from St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.

The Unitarian Universalists, the United Methodist Church of Laguna Beach and Laguna Presbyterian Church will contribute additional squares to this Thanksgiving patchwork.

Each year since 2007 the Laguna Beach Interfaith Council has put together a collaborative service with the help of Laguna’s various religious institutions, which take turns as host.

Following the long-standing tradition of Christian Science churches that have celebrated Thanksgiving since 1902, the Christian Science church at 635 High Drive in Laguna Beach will hold its annual Thanksgiving service at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 24. The public is warmly invited to attend the service, originally conceived by Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy to help fulfill the holiday’s purpose as a day of prayer and gratitude.

The hour-long service will be conducted by First Reader Christopher Swift, and Second Reader Susan Fleming, supported by organist Randy Woltz, who will play the Moeller organ, and Paul Hinshaw, who will sing “Thanks be to God” by Stanley Dickson and accompany the congregation in three hymns appropriate for the occasion.

Doors open Thursday at 9:15 a.m. for the 10 a.m. service. For more information, call the church office at 949-494-3040.

The public is also welcome at the town’s annual community Thanksgiving feast, which will be held at noon on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24, at Neighborhood Congregational Church, 340 St. Ann’s Dr.

“This is, hands down, my favorite day of the year in Laguna Beach,” said Dawn Price, executive director of the Friendship Shelter, which serves as host. “People from all walks of life gather together to give thanks for our blessings and to ensure that all who need the physical and emotional nourishment of a Thanksgiving feast are fed.”

Thanks to food and supplies contributed by individuals, churches and community groups, 600 to 700 meals are served buffet style from long tables, with dishes as varied as those who attend. A small army of volunteers helps to carve turkeys and hams, display the myriad food dishes and prepare bag lunches to go for those in need.

Donations of food, particularly prepared and cooked turkeys, are welcome and can be dropped off at the Neighborhood Congregational Church beginning at 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. For further information, or to volunteer, contact Taylor Mathieson at the Friendship Shelter, 949-494-6928. To donate a turkey, contact Mary LaRusso at 949-228-1954.


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