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Worship

Buffalo Grove is truly a community of faith, housing a number of well-established places of worship mixed with newer parishes, together representing a variety of religions. According to Lynne Schneider, executive director of the Buffalo Grove Area Chamber of Commerce, the community is known for its rich religious diversity, with nearly as many synagogues as churches. Not only that, but Buffalo Grove houses of worship work together to strengthen the local spiritual community and enhance the quality of life for all.

Various events and services throughout the year provide an arena for area religious institutions to convene, give thanks and help those in need. One notable event is the Annual Community Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. Each November (the Sunday before Thanksgiving), between 900 and 1,000 worshippers attend the holiday service. This wonderful affair invites community members of all religions to assemble under one roof and celebrate the true meaning behind Thanksgiving. The service features readings from both Christian and Jewish clergy and entertainment provided by various choirs, bands and more. While the event is free of cost, guests are encouraged to bring non-perishable foods to help stock the shelves of three local food pantries. The year 2010 marks the event’s 19th year in operation.

The Annual Community Interfaith Thanksgiving Service is alternately hosted at the Congregation Beth Am, one of Buffalo Grove’s largest synagogues, and St. Mary’s Church, an institution that has been a part of Buffalo Grove for more than 150 years. The congregation’s history is storied, dating back to the arrival of the area’s first immigrants. The first church was constructed in the early 1850s, but within a couple of years experienced a devastating fire that would burn the little church to the ground. Services were held in a small schoolhouse for more than 40 years, until the late 1890s when the congregation came together and raised money to construct a new church. Today, a portion of the original structure, completed in 1899, remains part of the current church. St. Mary’s Church remains rich in tradition and now stands as one of the largest churches in the Diocese.

For a list of local churches and synagogues, visit the “Community” page on the Buffalo Grove Area Chamber of Commerce’s Web site at www.buffalogrovechamber.org.

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