St Petersburg Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, November 24, 2013
The Rev. Dr. Russell L. Meyer

ta-iroquois-640px-641x360Let me begin by thanking the Planning Committee of SPIA for inviting me to speak tonight. I was asked for a title in advance, and not being enamoured much with titles, I gave the generic “Of Grace and Gratitude” for this talk. The two words come from the same root word. Grace is a favor and gratitude is how we accept the favor in the spirit in which it is given. Though I won’t use the terms grace and gratitude much more in what I’m saying now, I think you’ll see the connection come through clearly enough.

Here’s what I want to do in this time together. First I begin with the logic of Christian thanksgiving. Then I will show how it reflects the pattern of thanksgiving generally found across religions in most cultures. I’ll note how this pattern is baked into our humanity, and then conclude with the often forgotten wisdom that the religions continue to remind us of.

A personal commentary by the Rev. Dr. Russell Meyer

As the full U.S. Senate begins to consider the bipartisan S.744 immigration bill, the light is shining on Sen. Marco Rubio to lead enough fellow Republicans to support modernizing our immigration system. The stakes are high for all involved.

The last elected predecessor in his Senate seat, Mel Martinez, resigned from office after fellow GOP members refused to support his immigration efforts. Being chair of the national party at the time did not help Martinez. Rubio’s future aspirations may be equally problematic now as an often-named front-runner for 2016.


  Today (May 1), I head off to the Assembly of the Florida-Bahamas Synod. It starts tomorrow in Orlando, and I’ll be overseeing the audio and visual again. The Assembly will elect a new bishop. For the ELCA in Florida, this is a “change year.” In my various capacities with the synod and ecumenically with the Florida Council of Churches, I’ve learned a lot about church life beyond the congregation. […]

By Alicia Shurter Occupy Tampa 15 January 2012 MLK Interfaith Prayer Service I was asked to speak today about the events that led me here and what continues to keep me here. Two years ago I left my home in Nashville. I was sitting in my apartment after work and realized there had to be more. More to experience, more to learn, much more beyond the boundaries of this place […]

“Busyness is the new status symbol,” an equally over-scheduled colleague reminded me. The late Fr. Henri Nouwen observed that along with the many other ways in which we let our up-to-dateness drive us away from the experience of deep contentment. That kind of inner peace comes only after being still, being really still, for a significant period of time.   “But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in […]

Address to the Annual Conference of the Florida United Methodist Church Lakeland Civic Center Lakeland, Florida 15 June 2012 The Rev. Russell L. Meyer     Download PDF. Jesus prayed: “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, … that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me […]

  Faith leaders met in Tallahassee on January 30-31, 2012, during Children’s Week. On Monday afternoon they heard presentations on prison reform, tax reform, Medicaid reform, energy reform and immigration reform. In a nutshell, Florida’s prisons are overflowing with minorities serving mandatory long sentences for non-violent (often drug related) crimes. In the last two decades, the prison budget has risen by two billion dollars. We spend 67¢ on incarceration for […]

As part of Florida Advocacy Days and Children’s Week, four church leaders and I met and prayed with Governor Crist on Tuesday, March 26. Led by Bishop Timothy Whitaker (Florida Conference, United Methodist Church), the group also included Bishop Leeland (Alabama Panhandle Conference, United Methodist Church),  and the Rev. Wilma Israel (President, Florida District, Southern Province of the Moravian Unity). Together, we prayed through Bishop Whitaker’s words in thanksgiving for […]

By Bishop Charles Leigh, Apostolic Catholic Church Yesterday I listened to the pain and desperation of a young mother whose husband’s paycheck had been garnished by a subsidiary of CitiBank. In light of the current corporate bailout, I could not help but recall Jesus’ description of a very similar situation in Matthew 18, as well as the reaction of the kingdom to such behavior. In the Parable of the Unmerciful […]

For the first time, I attended Ecumenical Advocacy Days in Washington DC ( this past weekend and visited congressional offices to speak up for issues I have come to believe in. While I’ve often supported advocacy in principle and even admired some people for taking strong stances, I’ve not really embraced it as a proper church activity. Too many examples of brazen partisanship by a few have made me shy […]