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’Tis the season for faith

Opportunities abound for spiritual growth at Eagle’s Trace

Created date

November 20th, 2014
Residents in front of their shabbat candles

For Harry and Sue Rosenzweig, the faith community at Trace extends beyond their own Jewish heritage.

“Eagle’s Trace is home to people from a variety of faith traditions,” says Harry. “Not only do we get along, but we have a unique opportunity to learn from each other.”

The open, inviting dialogue between residents from diverse spiritual backgrounds is a key component of the community’s religious offerings, says Mary Kate Kell, pastoral ministries coordinator at the West Houston Erickson Living community.

“Our population includes several Protestant denominations, Catholics, and Jewish residents,” says Kell. “We offer something for everyone.”

‘Best of both worlds’

Harry and Sue moved to Eagle’s Trace in May 2012 from Southwest Houston. The couple continues to worship at Congregation Beth Israel, where they attended before they moved to Eagle’s Trace.

“Harry grew up in that congregation, so it’s important for us to keep those ties,” says Sue. “But we also participate in the weekly Shabbat service at Eagle’s Trace. We really have the best of both worlds.”

Eagle’s Trace is home to more than 30 Jewish residents who gather each week in the community’s creative arts studio to observe Shabbat, the seventh day of the Jewish week and a day of rest. Shabbat begins a few minutes before sunset on Friday evening and ends at nightfall on Saturday.

“We offer a blessing when we light the Shabbat candles, a kiddush prayer over the wine, and a blessing over the challah bread,” says Sue. “It’s a meaningful time for us to gather together.”

Abundant offerings

“Many of our residents continue to worship at the churches and synagogues they attended before they moved to Eagle’s Trace,” says Kell. “For them, the Bible studies, church services, and religious observances we offer at Eagle’s Trace provide another avenue for spiritual growth.”

And for those who opt to engage fully in the religious offerings at Eagle’s Trace, there are plenty of choices.

“We offer an ecumenical service every Sunday afternoon led by David Sproul from Tallowood Baptist Church,” say Kell. “Bishop Vincent Rizzotto and Father Greg Mirto conduct Catholic Mass at Eagle’s Trace three times a month. Rabbi Annie Belford from Temple Sinai visits our Jewish residents. Local clergy play an integral role in the community’s religious life.”

The community also hosts two weekly Bible studies. Eagle’s Trace resident Pat Camerino, an ordained Catholic minister, leads one of the Bible studies. The other is a women’s Bible study focusing on relational living in everyday life.

“We have great discussions in our Bible studies,” says Betty Finkelman, a retired nurse who attends both studies. “Everyone who attends has a different spiritual history, but we’re all on a journey. We come because we’re hungry to learn and grow in our faith.”

‘A better understanding’

The vibrant faith community at Eagle’s Trace is strengthened by the different traditions represented among residents.

“We feel very free to talk about our differences and learn from each other,” says Harry. “A better understanding of beliefs and traditions is good for all of us.”