Thanksgiving Service

Nearly every year since 1928, there has been a Thanksgiving Day service at Rockefeller Chapel. The event was started by the Council of Hyde Park Churches and Synagogues, which later became the Hyde Park & Kenwood Interfaith Council. We love having this event each year, and have had amazing speakers over the years! A full list of speakers (since the beginning) can be found on the bottom of this page.

2018 Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Davenport Rockefeller Chapel Listen to Them Grow
2017 Eboo Patel Interfaith Youth Core Prejudice, Pluralism, and the Promise of America
2016 Dr. Robert Henderson Baha’i Community  
2015 Rabbi Frederick Reeves KAM Isaiah Israel Authentic Voices in Respectful Multicultural Settings
2014 Dr. JoAnne Marie Terrell Chicago Theological Seminary The Gift of Each Other
2013 Taigen Dan Leighton Ancient Dragon Zen Gate The Synergy of Thanksgiving
2012 Reverend Freddy Washington St. Ambrose Catholic Church  
2011 Reverend Shanta Premawardana Urban Pastoral Education  
2010 Reverend Celeste A. Frazier Power of Oneness Spiritual Center More than Meets the Eye
2009 Rabbi Batsheva Appel KAM Isaiah Israel Serving God with Gladness
2008 Reverend Deborah Derylak Spiritual Care, University of Chicago Hospitals Seeds of Hope and Change
2007 Ken Dunn Resource Center  
2006 Reverend Calvin Morris Community Renewal Society  
2005 Reverend Leroy Sanders Kenwood United Church of Christ  
2004 Eboo Patel Interfaith Youth Core Saving Others, Saving Ourselves
2003 Reverend Daphne Burt Rockefeller Chapel Love One Another
2002 Reverend Nina Grey First Unitarian Universalist Our World is One World
2001 Rabbi Elliot Gertel Rodfei Zedek  
2000 Swami Varadananda Vivekananda Vedanta Society  
1999 Rabbi Caspers C. Funnye, Jr. Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken  
1998 Reverend Susan Thistlewaite President of Chicago Theological Seminary  
1997 Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf KAM Isaiah Israel  
1995 Father Jack Ferry St. Thomas the Apostle School  
1994 Dean Bernard O. Brown Rockefeller Chapel Always Having Before our Eyes, our Commission and our Community
1993 Rabbi Daniel I. Leifer Hillel Jewish Center Giving Thanks: Keeping Company with Jacob on the Road to Israel
1992 Reverend David Ramage Parliament of World Religions Looking for a Rainbow!
1991 Father John Boyle Archdiocese of Chicago Living Thanks
1990 Thomas Chulak Unitarian Universalist Association Thanks Giving
1989 Reverend Susan B.W. Johnson Hyde Park Union Church Yet Shall We Tread Upon High Places
1986 Susan Lockwood Wright Cornell Baptist Church Remembering Where We Came From
1985 Dean W. Clark Gilpin University of Chicago Divinity School Quiet Revolutions
1984 Vernon Kurtz North Suburban Synagogue Beth El  
1983 Dean Bernard O. Brown Rockefeller Chapel Connections
1982 C. Harvey Lord Villa Park Christian Church Our American Experience of Grace
1981 Joseph Stitler University of Chicago Divinity School Reflections on Being Thankful
1977 Reverend Charles Shelby Rooks President, Chicago Theological Seminary  
1976 Reverend Gordon A. Humphrey Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church  
1975 Reverend Emery A. Percell United Methodist Church  
1974 Jack Mendelsohn First Unitarian Church  
1973 Rabbi Philip N. Kranz Temple Sinai  
1971 Reverend James V. Lyles United Methodist Church  
1969 Reverend Thomas J. Fitzgerald St. Thomas the Apostle  
1968 Reverend Edgar H.S. Chandler Church Federation of Greater Chicago The Lord’s Song in a Strange Land
1967 Rabbi Hayim Goren Perelmuter KAM Isaiah Israel  
1966 Reverend Jack A. Kent First Unitarian Church  
1965 Reverend Joseph A. Buckles Hyde Park Methodist Church  
1964 Rabbi Ralph Simon Rodfei Zedek What is an Authentic Thanksgiving?
1963 Reverend Samuel L. Gandy Kenwood Ellis United Church of Christ Covenant and Renewal
1962 Rabbi Samuel E. Karff Sinai Temple The Grounds of Gratitude
1961 Reverend Keith L. Pearson Augustana Lutheran Church Thanksgiving: Symptom of Symbol
1960 Rabbi Bernard Martin Sinai Temple The Grateful Heart
1959 Dean E. Spencer Parsons Dean of Rockefeller Chapel The Grace of Gratitude
1958 Reverend David Bryan   Lest We Forget
1957 Rabbi Hayim Goren Perelmuter KAM Isaiah Israel Thanksgiving Formula: Gratitude Plus Attitude
1956 Reverend W. Douglas Larson Augustana Lutheran Church In Community We Thank
1955 Reverend William D. McLean Jr. St. Michael’s Episcopal Church The Grace of Gratitude
1954 Rabbi Jacob Weinstein Kehilath Anshe Maariv Thanksgiving: For What and To Whom?
1953 Reverend E. Jerry Walker   For This, We Are Thankful
1952 Reverend Paul L. Higgins    
1951 Rabbi Ralph Simon Rodfei Zedek  
1949 Reverend Wallace A. Robbins   The Liberty to Be Thankful
1948 Rabbi Louis L. Mann   When Other Virtues Cease
1947 Reverend Jitsuo Morikawa   A Dangerous Trust
1946 Rabbi Jacob Weinstein Kehilath Anshe Maariv  
1945 Reverend F.R. Steiger First Baptist Church  
1944 Reverend Leslie T. Pennington First Unitarian Church  
1943 Lieutenant Julius Mark USNR Great Lakes Naval Training Center  
1942 Reverend Irvin E. Lunger University Church Disciples of Christ  
1941 Rabbi Morton M. Berman   Values that Cannot Fall
1940 Reverend J. Richard Drees Hyde Park Methodist Church A Thanksgiving Pastorale
1939 Reverend Thomas W. Pender St. James Methodist Episcopal Church Thank God and Take Courage
1938 Reverend George M. Gibson United Church of Hyde Park The Ancient Faith and the Modern Mood
1937 Rabbi Joshua Loth Liebman   A Threefold Faith for a Confused World
1936 Reverend F.C. Benson Bells   Trust in God
1935 Reverend Thomas W. Pender St. James Methodist Episcopal Church Guidance of God
1934 Rabbi Gerson B. Levi   The Thanksgiving of the Spirit
1932 Reverend Norriss L. Tibbits   In God We Trust
1931 Reverend Douglas Horton United Church The Dimensions of Thanksgiving
1930 Reverend Albert W. Palmer President, Chicago Theological Seminary How Far Right Were the Puritans?
1928 Reverend Alfred Lee Wilson Kenwood Church