On Nov. 14, the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life hosted a non-denominational Thanksgiving service for the Wesleyan community. Curated by students and Wesleyan staff, the event blended secular and spiritual elements. Wesleyan Protestant Chaplain Jami Carlacio and her student assistant Lourdes Fitzgerald ’23 welcomed the audience to the service. Fitzgerald also led the “Mi’Kmaq Prayer” and Carlacio read a reflection from Yaje Nshanji ’22, who was unable to attend.
Dean of Student Affairs Mike Whaley provided a reading from the Gospel According to John.
The service was broadcast on Zoom for those living remotely.
Stephanie Aka ’24 presented a virtual personal reflection from her home in California. “I’m thankful for the year 2020,” she said. “I graduated high school, chose the college I’m attending, turned 18, and found myself within the span of one year. I also have a huge support system that I’m extremely thankful for. I’m thankful for my grandma for keeping me close to my Nigerian culture. I’m thankful for my parents for simply being my parents and for making my life comfortable yet joyous.”
Lauren Greenberg ‘22 (violin) and Sarah Morgan ’22 (cello) provided a musical interlude titled “Give Thanks.”
The service included a recording of the Lord’s Prayer.
Joseph Slaughter, visiting assistant professor of history, read from Psalm 136: 1-9.
Slaughter’s daughter, Wren, collected thanks-giving cards from the audience. Chaplain Carlacio read the cards near the conclusion of the service.
“The Thanksgiving service felt good and right,” Chaplain Carlacio said. “Even in the midst of a pandemic and the other social, economic, and cultural challenges that we are confronting now, we do have much to be thankful for: each other, for starters. The service was a way to gather at the table, figuratively speaking, and to acknowledge where we are right now, and realize with some conviction that we are guided and cared for by a loving presence.”