Fifth Annual Marco Island Community Hanukkah Celebration
What: Festive candle lighting ceremony, music and traditional Hanukkah foods
Where: Jewish Congregation of Marco Island
When: 5:45 p.m., Dec. 1
This year thousands of years of Jewish history and tradition will blend with hundred’s of years of American tradition.
It’s Thanksgivukkah — a celebration of religious freedom and a double time of joy and giving thanks to God.
The Jewish festival of Hanukkah, like all Jewish festivals and holidays are based on the Hebrew lunar calendar. It begins on the 25th day of Kislev and can begin in late November to early December. This year Hanukkah begins at sunset Nov. 27, Thanksgiving eve.
As the Jewish day goes from sunset to sunset, if you have Thanksgiving dinner before sunset, you are having it on the first day of Hanukkah.
Scholars debate whether or not Sukkot the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, a harvest festival, helped shape America’s Thanksgiving. The pilgrims knew and were influenced by the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible, and being thankful for a bountiful harvest was certainly an idea they would have gleaned from the Hebrew Bible.
Thanksgiving has been an annual tradition since 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Nov. 26, the last Thursday, as a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”
Previously Thanksgiving was celebrated on different dates in different states. Lincoln’s successors followed this tradition until President Franklin Roosevelt, in 1939, in the midst of the Great Depression declared the fourth Thursday as Thanksgiving rather than the fifth to spur the economy.
The astounding thing about Thanksgivukkah is that it happened once in 1888 and many sources say it won’t occur again another for 77,000 years.
Both are American traditions as Hanukkah tends to be celebrated more in the U.S. as other countries consider it a minor festival.
Both celebrate religious freedom. The pilgrims came to America in search of religious freedom. Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the Temple after the Greeks had imposed polytheism on the Jews. The Temple was defiled and the practice of Judaism was forbidden. After a successful rebellion the temple was purified and cleansed but when they went to light the candelabra there was only enough oil for one day but miraculously the oil lasted for eight.
This year the Jewish Congregation of Marco Island will host two events: the Marco Island Clergy Association’s Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service on Wednesday, Nov. 27 and the Fifth Annual Marco Island Community Hanukkah Celebration co-sponsored by JCMI and Jewish Federation of Collier County on Dec. 1. Both are free and everyone is welcome.
Marco’s Clergy Association, aware that Thanksgiving and Hanukkah coincided, gathered to discuss this year’s Interfaith Service. After some reflection, the theme of religious freedom surfaced and the 2013 service will have a touch of Hanukkah.
Among the participating clergy is San Marco Catholic Church’s Pastor the Rev. Timothy Navin. He also sees Thanksgiving as a feast of religious freedom. The U.S. Catholic Bishops as well as Vatican II have a rich heritage and many statements regarding religious freedom and the respect for the right of conscious; additionally St. Thomas Moore is the saint of religious freedom.
“It’s a time for all faith communities, families and individuals to gather and count all of God’s blessings and be grateful,” said Navin via telephone.“We are richly blessed; it is a part of our American character to be thankful to God for our many blessings.”
“Having Hanukkah as a background is exciting, re-energizing,” said St. Mark’s Episcopal Church’s Rector, the Rev. Dr. Kyle Bennett in a telephone interview. It has always been important to him and his family, as it was to the pilgrims, to share a Thanksgiving meal with people he usually doesn’t share a meal with.
For him sharing faith and fellowship with different faith traditions in a public way has its roots in a shared Thanksgiving.
“The Marco Island community is blessed to have the opportunity to not only give thanks to God for his great blessings, but also to reflect on the freedom to express our thankful spirits together, which can be used to bring our community even closer together,” wrote Marco Lutheran Church’s Pastor the Rev. Kevin Koenig in an email.“Perhaps such awareness will enable us to find even more common threads in the expressions of our faith.”
JCMI’s Cantorial Soloist Hari Jacobsen thinks of the holiday as Hanugiving because technically Hanukkah comes first. She along with MLC’s Music Director Craig Greusel and the United Church of Marco Island’s Music Minister the Rev. Dr. Lorna Lee Curtis will provide the music for the Interfaith Gathering. There will be traditional Thanksgiving music and a contemporary Hanukkah song.
Curtis joined Jacobsen at JCMI as accompanist in October. She especially enjoys exploring her Jewish roots and JCMI’s congregation as well as expanding her social contacts within the religious community.
“All believers within the Judeo-Christian tradition recognize God’s providence while the secular world calls it turkey day,” said Curtis via telephone.“It’s time to recognize God’s love for us publicly.”
Kathleen Tuttle, a Marco Island resident since 1987, has written articles for various nonprofits for more than 25 years. She is a community volunteer, former science teacher and microbiologist. Kathleen can be contacted at email@example.com.
Operation Christmas Child — The Shoebox project
Take part in the annual Operation Christmas Child — the Shoebox Project where more than 100 million children have learned of God’s love. Since 1993, the worldwide ministry of Samaritan’s Purse, a nondenominational Christian organization, has headed up the program.
Fill a shoebox with small toys, school supplies, socks, a T-shirt, sunglasses, or any nonliquid item. Do not include war-related items or perishables.
Visit www.samaritanspurse.org or call 800-353-5949 for details. Local info sites are: Marco Presbyterian Church, 875 W. Elkcam Circle; The Family Church, 1450 Winterberry Drive; New Life Community Church, 590 Elkcam Circle and Wesley United Methodist Church, 350 S. Barfield Drive.
The gift-filled shoeboxes may be dropped off at the Presbyterian church 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Sunday.
A $7 donation is requested for each box to help cover shipping. Donors may track their box to the destination country where it will be hand-delivered to a child by registering at the Ways to Give, Follow Your Box Web page at samariatnspurse.org.
This is the 10th year that Marco Presbyterian Church has served as organizer and the collection site for the Marco area. The goal for Marco Island is 750 boxes.
New Life Community Church
The Tea Ladies Holiday Bazaar and Bake Sale will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday. Items for sale include gifts, jewelry, holiday decorations, with many new items including goat milk soaps. There will also be baked goods for sale, and Indian River Fruit shipped to any address. Barbecue sandwiches will be sold for lunch, and there will be prizes awarded from local restaurants, gift shops, services and a quilt. Credit cards accepted.
The Tea Ladies will host its 14th annual Christmas Tea from 2 to 4 p.m. Dec. 7. The free tea includes fun and fellowship over high tea with tiny sandwiches, fruit, cheese and pastries. Robin Noel Jewell will present a Christmas musical package and Daryl McCulley will share a brief inspirational message. Christmas centerpieces will be given away.
Reservations required, call 239-389-0815 and leave your phone number and a head count. Donations accepted.
The church’s new youth group for ages 12 to 18 meets the first Friday of every month from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
The New Life #Connect Youth Group will enjoy GlowGolf in Fort Myers on Dec. 6. To reserve a spot visit newlifemarco.org/minigolf. Meet at the church at 5 p.m., pick up is at 9 p.m. Information: contact Pastor Nicci at 217-239-6428.
Wesley United Methodist Church
There will be fun for children of all ages at the church’s Saturday Fall Festival from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Activities include games and bounce houses; free.
GriefShare meets 6 p.m., every Tuesday. Each two-hour session consists of workbook exercises, a DVD lesson and group discussion. There is a one-time fee of $20, with scholarships available, to join the weekly group.
“GriefShare: Surviving the Holidays” seminar meets from 2 to 4 p.m., Dec. 3 and is for anyone facing the holiday season without a loved one. The seminar helps prepare for the special challenges that can make this time of year difficult. Visit www.griefshare.org/holidays. The $5 cost includes the “Holiday Survival Guide.” Light refreshments will be served. Seating is limited. Information: contact Ellen Morgenstern at 239-642-7165 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
San Marco Catholic Church
The church will celebrate a 10 a.m. Thanksgiving Day Mass.
The Advent Mass schedule is as follows: 3:45 and 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30 and 7:30, 9 and 10:45 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 1.
Marco Lutheran Church
English as a Second Language classes continue through Nov. 26. Classes meet from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and 6 to 7:30 p.m. every Tuesday. Information: contact Director of Christian Outreach, James Zickfield, at email@example.com or 239-394-0332.
Gentle Yoga meets 12:30 p.m., Thursdays and costs $5.
Keeping Christ in Christmas
The Historic Old Church, located on the property of the Marco Island Cemetery, will host a series of interdenominational Christmas celebrations. All events begin at 6 p.m. Bring a chair.
Dec. 2: invocation and devotional by Wesley United Methodist Church’s Pastor Kirk Drieser; carols lead by United Church of Marco Island’s Music Minister the Rev. Dr. Lorna Lee Curtis; a singing group lead by WUMC Traditional Music Director Cynthia Dallas; musical selections on strings and piano by local youth; and closing prayer the Rev. Ed Sellers, a retired Anglican Church of North America priest.
Dec. 9: invocation by New Life Community Church’s Pastor Thomas McCulley; a singing group and caroling led by Marco Presbyterian Church’s Director of Music John Stein; MPC Hand Bell selections; New Hope Ministries Under The Veil Flag Team; and closing prayer by NLCC’s Women’s Ministry Daryl McCulley.
Dec. 16: invocation by NHM Worship Pastor Heath Jarvis; keynote speaker Christmas Island Style Chairman Steve Stefanides; music by NLCC’s praise band and choir; comedy sketch by Jarvis; annual teddy bear drive for Manatee Middle School; and closing prayer by Drieser. Information contact Bobbie LeCroy-Lansdown 239-389-9282 or New Life Community Church 239-394-3469.
Annual Christmas Box Angel Memorial Service
The 14th annual Christmas Box Angel Memorial Service will be held 6:30, p.m., Dec. 6 at the Marco Island Cemetery. The candle light service remembers and honors children who have died. Bring a white flower to place at the base of the statue. The names of children who have memorial bricks will be read aloud during the service. J. Robert will perform the music. Information: Marco Island Cemetery Office 239-394-3469, or Nanette Moll, Coffee and Comfort Support Group Leader, 239-394-7242 x 93.
Capri Christian Church
The church will once again host “A Taste of Christmas on Capri” 6 to 8 p.m., Dec. 8. Vocalists Art Bush, Jeff Bush, Steven Foster and Tracy Tooley will give an inspirational and toe-tapping concert. Local restaurants will provide appetizers. All are invited to sing familiar carols. Free, an offering will be received.
Marco Presbyterian Church
The first of Marco Presbyterian Church’s “Music for the Soul” Concert Series will be 7 p.m., Dec. 8. The seven-member flute virtuoso group Flute Cocktail will join the combined bell choirs of Marco Presbyterian and Wesley United Methodist churches. Musical selections include sacred holiday classics as well as some fun twists on old favorites. Other concerts in the series are: 6 p.m. Jan. 19, the versatile Billy Dean and Dawn Birch will sing sacred favorites — hymns, gospel and contemporary Christian. 6 p.m. Feb. 16, the organ and piano duo of Babs Hillenbrand and Marv Hollenbeck will play favorite hymn arrangements. Sandy and John Stein will play a variety of musical styles from sacred to jazz on the flute and piano. 6 p.m. March 2, the Blackwood Brothers Quartet will present southern gospel at its finest. This is the ninth year for Marco Presbyterian Church’s concert series. Concerts are free; love offerings will be received.
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
The church’s Fifth Annual Concert Series continues with the 10th Annual Advent Service of Lessons and Carols with Holy Eucharist, 10:30 a.m., Dec. 15. The service includes St. Mark’s Choir, Children’s Choir, soloists and chamber orchestra. An Advent reception follows in the Parish Hall. Free.