Christian Ecumenical Group Withdraws from Thanksgiving Interfaith Service in MI

September 26, 2003

Source: The Grand Rapids Press

On September 26, 2003 The Grand Rapids Press reported that the 2002 Thanksgiving interfaith worship service held in Grand Rapids, MI, had caused some controversy among Christians who said worshipping with members of other faiths compromised their beliefs. "Now, Grand Rapids' leading ecumenical organization has dropped out as principal organizer of the annual interfaith Thanksgiving service, in the face of the objections and a financial crisis. The Grand Rapids Area Center for Ecumenism, better known as GRACE, recently notified churches it is backing away from the service, which was so popular last year that ushers hastily set up chairs to accommodate an overflow crowd. The very success of that third annual event raised doubts that a Christian organization should promote a service with people of other faiths. Some churches threatened to withdraw their financial support if the services continued. 'We wondered how that fit with the Christian belief there is only one God and that Jesus Christ is the only way to him,' said the Rev. Stanley Mast, pastor of LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church, one of the churches that helped found GRACE in 1972."