Pacifica Institute held its 5th Annual Thanksgiving Dinner. (November 19, 2011)

On Saturday November 19, 2011, Pacifica Institute held its 5th Annual Thanksgiving Dinner. The themed this year was, “Don’t forget your neighbor!” The event was a great success, with over 160 guests sharing the spirit of Thanksgiving with their friends and neighbors, all of different backgrounds and religions. The official welcome was made at 7:30pm as guests enjoyed delicious turkey with mashed and sweet potato, rice, salad and a range of side dishes. During the meal there were announcements of random prizes, including several hand-drawn images of Ottoman Istanbul, and hand-made wooden secret storage boxes – the last of which was won by Mr. Tang, only after he was able to solve the puzzle of how to open it!

After everyone had finished eating, Pastor Elizabeth Rechter gave the keynote speech highlighting the importance of making the effort for our neighbors. She explained that while many of us seek sanctuary in our houses from the rush and stress of our working lives, we shut our doors, perhaps unknowingly, to not just our neighbors, but also our families and friends. But life cannot be lived with closed doors. We are interdependent beings. Closing the doors to be only with one’s partner and children is beautiful, but another part of the beauty of a marriage, she explained, was that a new home could now open its doors, and share love and joy with others. And for this, we need to put in effort.

She closed with a prayer of gratitude, and everyone was reminded of the many blessings that surround our lives, the importance of our family, friends and neighbors, and the joy of giving thanks.