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Toyota aired a commercial during this past Summer Olympics that caught my attention. In the advertisement, they stated “you don’t have to be amazing to get started, but you do have to get started to be amazing.” Perhaps they were referring to greatness in sports, but arguably the principle is a truism that transcends sports and applies to life in general. Consider, for instance, cause engagement.

There are many amazing people doing amazing work in our community, but I find myself wondering “which came first?” Were our heroes amazing people before they went to work improving our community, or did they grow into that status as a result of their amazing work? And if it is the latter, is there hope for the rest of us ordinary people to make a positive impact by finding our passion and purpose, and then getting to work? Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. instructs us that “Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

How will you engage in the things that matter to you…the things that matter to the future of our community? Engagement can look different depending on your circumstances and the situation at hand. For some, the right level of engagement will be providing encouragement and resources, and for others, getting engaged will mean going straight to the front lines. Both types of engagement (and all the intermediate levels between the extremes) are valuable and rewarding and demonstrate a proactive step to shape future outcomes. As Peter Drucker said, “the best way to predict the future is to create it.”

You really don’t have to be amazing…just get started. Get Involved, Make a Difference!


2021-2022 Faiths in Conversation series – Christianity & Justice
We hope you will join us on Monday, Oct. 11 for Christianity & Justice, the second installment in our Faiths in Conversation series. The series is presented by the Interfaith Council of The Thanks-Giving Foundation, SMU Perkins School of Theology, and The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, and co-sponsored by The SMU Office of the Chaplain and Religious Life, The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Cultures, and The Dallas Bar Association Equality Committee. In this series, our scholars will discuss how different religions understand justice in theory and practice, and as a historical ideal. The themes that the series will explore include human rights, human dignity, social justice, human responsibility, and social order.

The Oct. 11 session will feature Joerg Rieger, Distinguished Professor of Theology, Cal Turner Chancellor’s Chair of Wesleyan Studies, and the Founding Director of the Wendland-Cook Program in Religion and Justice at Vanderbilt University. His work addresses the relation of theology and public life, reflecting on the misuse of power in religion, politics, and economics. His main interest is in developments and movements that bring about change and in the positive contributions of religion and theology.

The responder is Hina Azam, Associate Professor of Islamic Studies in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at UT-Austin, where she teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in Islamic studies, Middle Eastern studies, and comparative religions of the Middle East. She currently serves as Graduate Advisor for the Center for Middle Eastern Studies’ MA program. Her research interests are in women and gender in Islam, Islamic law, Qur’anic ethics, and Islam in America.

T.G.I.F. at TGS
We are excited to announce that we have extended T.G.I.F. at TGS through the end of October! We hope you can join us on Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a delicious lunch available for purchase from the Mi Cocina food truck. Enjoy your meal with music in the gardens, and don’t forget to stop by the Chapel to write a gratitude note during your visit!

North Texas Giving Day!
Thank you for your contributions during North Texas Giving Day on Sept. 23!

Thanks to our generous donors, we had more donors give more dollars than any previous North Texas Giving Day! This much appreciated support will help fund the work we do, which involves changing hearts, minds, and souls to prepare and enable the community to come together in goodwill to take action to solve the problems we can’t solve alone.


Above the entryway to the Chapel of Thanks-Giving is an etched glass piece of art crafted by artist John Hutton titled “The Spirit of Thanks-Giving,” which is sometimes referred to as “The Dove.” Representing the divine in some religions, the dove is a symbol used throughout history to depict beauty, peace, hope, and thanksgiving.

UPcoming Events

YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas – BOUNCING BACK STRONGER: Rebuilding Latino Communities in the Wake of COVID-19
Friday, October 8 | 11:30 a.m.

Turtle Creek Chorale – Broadway’s Back, Baby!
Saturday, October 9 | 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, October 10 | 2:30 p.m.
SMU’s McFarlin Auditorium

Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum – Women in Genocide
Thursday, October 21 | 7 p.m.

YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas – Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot
Thursday, November 25 | 8:30 a.m.
Dallas City Hall

Gratitude Spotlight

Expressions of gratitude left by visitors on our Gratitude Wall.

Partner Feature

Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum
Founded in 1984 by a group of Dallas area Holocaust Survivors, the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is dedicated to teaching the history of the Holocaust and advancing human rights to combat prejudice, hatred, and indifference. Located in Dallas’ Historic West End and a top-rated attraction in North Texas, the Museum is one of just a few Holocaust-related museums or centers in the United States and the only Holocaust Museum serving North Central Texas, as well as the adjacent states of Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. The Museum has been recognized for its compelling and creative programming, internationally recognized exhibits, and world-class speakers.

About us

“The Convener” is a monthly publication of The Thanks-Giving Foundation. If you have suggestions or comments, please contact



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