Lacee Harris

Lacee Harris, of the Ute and Paiute tribes, will offer the invocation at "Traditions of Gratitude," a Thanksgiving service on Sunday, Nov. 24, at the Weber State University Community Education Center, in Ogden.

Giving thanks is an important theme in most religions.

And this weekend, a wide range of religious groups will do just that, gathering for an interfaith celebration of Thanksgiving.

“Traditions of Gratitude” will begin at 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24, at the Weber State University Community Education Center, 2605 Monroe Blvd., in Ogden. Admission to the event is free.

The annual Thanksgiving service is organized by Interfaith Works! Of Ogden, a coalition of local religions that partners with community organizations to provide support for the people of Northern Utah.

“Representatives from local churches in the area felt they’d make more of a difference if they worked together,” said Carolyn Somer, a member of the coalition’s steering committee who lives in North Ogden. “In creating the group, they coordinate with local service organizations in monthly meetings held at service organizations and faith organizations.”

Those monthly meetings focus on various issues facing the local community, according to Somer. But she said this annual Thanksgiving gathering is “a little more worshipful.”

Somer said she thinks all faiths share the idea of gratitude and that it’s an important concept — especially at a time when there’s so much divisiveness in the country.

“I participate in some of those websites like gratefulness.org — where I get a daily reminder of something to be thankful for — and it gives me a boost,” she said. “I think gratitude is so important in how we treat one another and see one another as humans for which we can be thankful.”

The service will start, as it has for the last decade or so, with an invocation by Lacee Harris. A Ute/Paiute spiritual leader and healer, Harris will lead those in attendance in an invocation in his native language.

“He has us all stand and face to the four directions,” Somer said. “It’s very beautiful.”

The prayer will be followed by music from Dan Arnow, played on a Native American flute.

The program will then feature about 10 or 12 people from various faiths, speaking, singing or reading scriptures about gratitude and giving thanks. Christian, Jewish, Hindu and spirituality groups will be represented at the service.

“The idea is to just offer some words of gratitude from your faith,” Somer said. “I think all of our faiths share that, a tradition of gratitude.”

Following the program, the local chapter of the American Mothers organization will provide refreshments.

“After we finish the program, everyone’s invited to stick around and enjoy refreshments and conversation,” Somer said.

Traditionally, the event has been held at the YCC Family Crisis Center in downtown Ogden. But this year’s service has been moved to the WSU Community Education Center, and Somer worries that some of the regulars won’t hear about the change.

“Some people are there every year, and the fact that it’s not at YCC this year could be a problem,” she said. “We got people who just automatically show up there every year, because they know it’s always on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.”

For more information, visit visit the Interfaith Works! Facebook page, @interfaithworksofogden, or call 801-392-5012.

Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, or msaal@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Friend him on Facebook at facebook.com/MarkSaal.

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