They chanted prayers in English, Hebrew, Arabic and Latin. They read from their scriptures and shared a Middle Eastern meal.

The format has changed little in the more than a dozen years that organizers have held the “Children of Abraham” thanksgiving gathering, named in honor of the patriarch that Christians, Jews and Muslims all honor.

Last night’s service drew about 100 people to James Lees Memorial Presbyterian Church in Clifton.

Organizers said it’s precisely because interfaith relations are so delicate — both locally and globally — that they have stayed with a tried-and-true format.

“We have altered these services very little since its inception, yet we are painfully aware that in these same years we have witnessed terrible violence and tragic loss of life, enmity and discord,” G.A. Shareef, a Muslim, said at the service. “Though the causes are many, sadly, religious threads run through our tragedies.”

Rabbi Stanley Miles of Temple Shalom added: “We all are, as people of faith … children of the same God and our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.”

Miles said in an interview that the gathering, part of the weeklong Festival of Faiths sponsored by the Center for Interfaith Relations, is a “bittersweet” experience.

“It’s sweet that this event continues,” Miles said.

But he lamented the recent news that another organization, the Kentuckiana Interfaith Community, has decided to cease operations.

That organization emphasized bringing clergy, bishops and other local denominational leaders together.

“There’s a void in the community” without it, he said. “It’s my hope that some of us who are involved tonight can re-light the fire.” (MORE)


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