HAMMONTON - An interfaith service held at Hammonton Lake Park on Independence Day celebrated not only freedom, but also Hammonton’s sesquicentennial anniversary.
“We are happy to be here to celebrate the sesquicentennial anniversary” said the Rev. Adam Krell of Life Mission Church, as he gave the opening prayer for the service on July 4.
“The idea for the service came from the Hammonton Sesquicentennial Committee,” said the Rev. Joyce Dunne of the United Methodist Church. Local clergy created an event that was welcoming to people of all religions.
“We also wanted to make sure Rabbi Abby would be comfortable participating,” said Rev. Dunne. Rabbi Abby Michaleski, of Temple Beth-El, led a Jewish memorial chant later in the service in honor of deceased military personnel.
After Krell’s opening prayer, Pentecostal Assemblies of God Church’s acapella choir performed “Amazing Grace,” which was then followed by a psalm reading from Dunne.
The Rev. Howard Smith of the Presbyterian Church led a prayer for the troops, “On this Independence Day, we recognize the price for us to worship freely”. Father Tom Donio, of Saint Joseph’s Church, then sang a prayer of gratitude.
“Freedom is a fundamental right” said Rev. Dan McAnney of Living Springs Ministry as he gave his thoughts on freedom. He continued by saying that “The only way to have freedom is having the ability to choose”.
After Rabbi Michaleski gave the Jewish Memorial Chant, the string orchestra from Life Mission Church performed “Let Us Adore,” which was then followed by a benediction from the Rev. Ray Lewis from Jesus in the Midst Ministry. “This is my first ecumenical gathering and I have found this group to be very loving,” said Lewis.
The ceremony came to a close with the clergy members leading everyone in a rendition of “God Bless America.”