Five hundred persons weathered a heavy downpour yesterday morning to attend the community-wide Thanksgiving service sponsored by the Greater Springfield council of Churches at the Municipal Auditorium. The clouds broke, however, as the service ended and the crowd started homeward for the first peacetime Thanksgiving in four years. Twenty-one flags of the United Nations were arranged in a semi-circle on the stage and a bank of yellow chrysanthemums stood at the altar. Numbers of servicemen, most of them accompanied by parents and children, were in the audience. Few persons went alone, for thanksgiving is a family day and the ushers were kept busy seating whole rows of family groups together.
Following the procession of the clergy, representing the hundred churches and synagogs of the valley area, which are members of the council. Rev Franklin Lochr. Executive secretary, gave the invocation. A Thanksgiving proclamation for the city was given by Mayor J. Albin Anderson, Jr., and for the nation by Daniel B. Brunton Mayor-elect.
Rabbi Greets Servicemen
“For us who have been on the far-flung battlefields of the world, Thanksgiving comes as a spontaneous expression of gratitude for the goodness and mercy of God that has ever been with us.” Rev. Isaac Klein. rabbi of Kadimoh Synagog said in his welcome to returned servicemen. “Last year at this time we also took part in a union service. Then it was more of a prayer than a service. Even though our arms were on the upgrade all over the front, our future was still uncertain.” he continued. “I faced an audience of begrimed men in battledress. Today, with the tumult and shouting over, we are most of us back at home and our hearts are filled with thanksgiving.
“We pray for our buddies who made the supreme sacrifice, and that the United States, great and mighty in war shall be great and mighty in peace. We pray that we will join with all good men all over the world in establishing a world of equity. May it become a good world that shall be the greatest blessing of war.” Rev Robbins Wolcott Barstow, director of the Commission for World Council service, gave the Thanksgiving sermon. “The world is in the valley of decision.” he said. “We are standing at the parting of the ways. Will we climb toward heaven, or fall into the aura of still darker days? Peace alone cannot restore the wasted bodies and starved souls.” he declared. “Peace alone cannot replace the blasted dignity of human life, nor make certain a commonwealth of nations, resting on aggressive good will.
“We give thanks for this fresh chance given out of this tragedy. To find and fulfill God’s eternal purpose as we know it in our hearts. As we compare our lot with that of most of the rest of the world, we wonder because of what merit we deserve such safety and bounty as has been ours.” He said. “The children of Europe are fatherless and motherless. What does the future hold for them? As we hold this service this morning, 166 people die in the city of Berlin. But there are still some who call themselves Americans who would deny food to those people to give them a chance to live. Our Thanksgiving is nothing but a mockery if it is just self-congratulatory that we have been singled out for such blessings.”
There must be a reconversion that is far more than just a retooling of machine shops, Dr. Barstow continued. “It must reach right down into the realm of practical business affairs. How does it come that factories large and small are closed by picket lines? How does it come that workers are idling and expect to be paid for their idleness? It would seem that we have so shackled our souls that we are blocking our entrance to a world of good will.”
Thrift Has Been Forgotten
Thrift is a word that seems to have been forgotten, Dr. Barstow said, pointing to the record sums spent last year on liquor and horse racing. Responsibility also resign with management, the speaker said, “If they expect an honest day’s work, they must offer an honest day’s pay.” He said.
“American labor and industry both need to be aware of covetousness.” He said. “If they would become a team to work together in the waiting world, we could thank God for the power of mutual understanding and altruistic cooperation. The world is hungry for a sign of sincerity.”
Presentation and retrieving of the color was made by the color guard of Boy Scouts from troop 34 of Hope church, with Morton Bates, scoutmaster and the troop 42 of Kadimoh synagog. Ben Livow, scoutmaster. Prescott Barrows gave the organ prelude and postlude and accompanying the Thanksgiving hymns. The flowers were a gift of Mrs. W.S. Schermerhorn in honor of her parents. Mr. and Mrs. Fred W. Wells.
Rev. Bryan f. Archibald pastor of First Baptist church gave the Scripture reading and Rev. John Hoon pastor of Wesley Methodist church gave the prayer. Rev. Raymond II Hendrick, canon of Christ Church cathedral spoke the offertory sentences. Benediction was made by Re. Albert B. Cleage of St. John’s Congregational church.
Anthems were given by the West Springfield First Church quartet, with Dorothy Ryland, soprano: Eunice Anderson, alto, Clayton smith, tenor and Charles Leonard, bass.
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