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Greetings, Momentum is picking up for the Surrey Interfaith Council! A Steering Committee was formed last month (using a first-come-first-served selection process) and the group met for the first time this past Tuesday. The group is made up of people who come with a range of faith backgrounds and community roles. In short, it is an amazing group. In alphabetical order: Devinder Chattha (City of Surrey Social Planning Advisory Committee) Kerr Cuhulain (Pagan community) David Dalley (Surrey Neighbouring Faiths Program) Acharya Dwivedi (Global Clergy Association of Canada), Deirdre Goudriaan (BC Healthy Communities) Jonquil Hallgate (Surrey Urban Mission) Donald Hill (Spiritual Care Program, Fraser Health) Poonam Kapoor (Progressive Intercultural Community Services) Jasleen Kaur (Progressive Intercultural Community Services) Samuel Lee (Multifaith Centre, Kwantlen Polytechnic University) Jasbir Randhawa (Options Community Services Society) Sukhvinder Vinning (Multifaith Action Society) As you can see, this is a group that can make things happen. After the first meeting, members of the Steering Committee went away with the task of drafting a selection of Mission and Vision statements for the Council. Once some of the groundwork has been done, the results will be brought back to the larger group for discussion and dialogue. Please stay tuned for the date of the next community dialogue and plan to attend! Thanks to all who volunteered to be on the Steering Committee, and all who have participated (and plan to participate!) in the community dialogue series. A warm welcome to anyone receiving this newsletter for the first time.
March 27 - Community Forum with Dr. Margaret Wheatley Dr. Margaret Wheatley, world-renowned facilitator and expert on organizational behavior and community change, is in town to lead a day of discussion and debate amongst participants from every sector of the city. Participants will explore how concerned people from all fields can work together to develop innovative, sustainable solutions to address community challenges and reach for community dreams. Faith leaders are encouraged to attend. This workshop is sponsored by the Surrey Foundation. Visit the website for more information and to register. March 29 - Student Conference on Compassion in Religion with Karen Armstrong KAREN ARMSTRONG, TED Prize Winner 2008, prolific author, and Visiting Scholar at SFU inspired the “Charter for Compassion,” endorsed by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The Iona Pacific Inter-religious Centre at the Vancouver School of Theology is proud to host a postsecondary student conference on compassion, religion, and society featuring internationally acclaimed scholar Karen Armstrong. The conference includes Karen Armstrong’s keynote and summary addresses, stories about compassion from eight different traditions, student-led
discussions, and a nutritious lunch. Students can expect an invaluable learning experience and networking opportunity with students and leaders from diverse religious and professional backgrounds. The conference takes place Thursday, March 29, 2012 from 9am-3pm at the Chapel of the Epiphany, Vancouver School of Theology, 6030 Chancellor Blvd, UBC-Main Campus. Post secondary students can register here or contact Aliya Hirji for more information. April 1 – Community Interfaith Series: Harold Rosen on the Baha’i Faith Harold Rosen is a well known interfaith educator with the local Baha’i Community. Come and hear him speak about the Baha’i Faith at the sixth session of the Community Interfaith Series sponsored by the South Fraser Unitarian Congregation. All are welcome. The service starts at 10:30am at the Newton Seniors Centre. See attached poster for details.
Opportunities to Connect
Want to start a conversation about living wages? Did you know that the majority of BC’s poor children live in families with working parents? This is because their parents are working hard in jobs that don’t provide them with enough income to come to cover their basic living expenses. They are not earning a living wage. Many Faith Groups in Surrey have firsthand experience of dealing with the effects of parents working in low wage jobs. They are involved in running food banks and other charitable responses to this issue. They witness the struggles that their members face on a daily basis. The ‘Living Wage Faith Group Engagement Project’ , funded by the United Way of the Lower Mainland, is an opportunity for Faith Groups to find out how the concept of ‘Living Wages’ relates to their beliefs and work and how it can address these issues. For more information please contact Michael McCarthy Flynn at 604-873-8437 or email@example.com, visit the website, or view the attached document. Surrey Interfaith Council A range of religious and secular community leaders have embarked on a dialogue process to explore the formation of a Surrey Interfaith Council. At this point, the Steering Committee is drafting Mission and Vision Statements that will be presented to the larger group later in the spring. A summary of the first dialogue event in November 2011 can be viewed via that link at the bottom of this newsletter. Please let David Dalley know if you are interested in connecting with this project. Early Years Workshops The SNFP offers an educational outreach workshop titled “Honouring the Religious and Spiritual Identities of Children in Early Childhood Education.” It is 2 to 4 hours long, and is geared towards preschool and early elementary school teachers. The purpose of this workshop is to explore spirituality and religion as important components of the “whole child” in the education of young children. Please let David Dalley know if you are interested in observing this workshop or training to become a presenter.
Community Sweat Lodge and Drum Circle The Cwenengitel Aboriginal Society hosts community sweat lodges and drum circles. The drum circles take place every Thursday evening at 6:30pm, the sweat lodges take place every second Saturday starting at 10:30am. The next sweats are March 10 & 24. There are separate lodges for men and women. Men must wear shorts, and women must wear a long skirt or gown to the ankles. The events are open to people from all faith traditions. For more information, please contact Wally LaVigne at firstname.lastname@example.org or (604) 588-5561 October 2011 – June 2012 – Interfaith Speakers Series
The South Fraser Unitarian Congregation in Surrey is hosting a “1st Sunday Community Interfaith Series” that will run from October 2011 to June 2012. Speakers will reflect on the following theme: “We live together in diverse communities. As individuals, we draw on our belief systems to guide the ways we think and act. Our belief systems shape how we relate to one another and how we come together as a community. What are some of the core values and practices of your faith tradition? How do they shape and strengthen your faith community? How might the wisdom of your faith tradition help us to live and flourish in our diverse community?” We will hear perspectives from the following worldviews: Hinduism, Paganism, Humanism, Islam, Kabir Panth, Sikhism, Christianity and Baha’i. For more information, please contact email@example.com.
Further down the road...
April 14 – 10th Annual Early Years Festival The Surrey Neighbouring Faiths Program will be hosting and information booth and children’s activity at the 10th Annual Early Years Festival on Saturday, April 14th, 10:00a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre. This is a great family event! Let David Dalley know if you’re interested in helping out. April 22 - Earth Day Multifaith Pilgrimage to Burns Bog Burns Bog is sometimes called the "lungs of the lower mainland" because it stores carbon that would otherwise cause climate change. Burns Bog cleans our air and water, provides habitat for many (endangered) species, and plays an integral role in our local ecosystem. Join this annual pilgrimage in a ritual that belongs to no single religious or cultural tradition. We answer the call to go and to connect to this rich, natural environment in our midst. The Pilgrimage Festival begins at 2pm April 22 near the entrance to the Delta Nature Reserve, behind Planet Ice (10388 Nordel Court, Delta, BC V4G 1J7) and the Pilgrimage walk to the Cedar Forest begins at 3 pm. Join us. May 10-11 – Workshop at 2012 “Cities Fit for Children” Provincial Summit The 3rd Annual Cities Fit for Children Provincial Summit is dedicated to the sustainable development of our cities and urban and rural areas. The event will bring together local, municipal and regional leaders involved in policy decisions and designing and building healthy safe communities for children and families. Come and hear how multifaith networks can play an important role in this process. Late Spring - Evening Candlelight Meditation Walks at Fleetwood Labyrinth Labyrinths are found throughout history and in many different cultures and religious traditions. They are used as tools for meditation and prayer; as a means of quieting the mind and enriching the spirit. Weekly evening candlelight meditations will be starting up again in Mid-March at the Labyrinth at Fleetwood Gardens in Surrey. These meditation walks are open to the all, and are a great opportunity for building interfaith connections. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be a part of this program. June 1-5 – Interfaith Eco-Theological Symposium This coming June 1-5, Bethany-Newton United Church is hosting an international symposium to widen and strengthen the world-wide inter-faith community to gain momentum and to provide collaborative leadership as Science, Religion, Public Policy and Business seek to “Green” communities. The Symposium will engage theology with key ecological concerns from a variety of religious and spiritual perspectives. The theme is “Our Sustainable Future” and our focus will be on faith-based and scientific approaches to economic and ecological problems and challenges. Visit the website for location and details.
Keep in touch...
What to learn more about the Surrey Neighbouring Faiths Program? Visit our website, watch our documentary, or look through past editions of this newsletter. Want to stay connected? Sign up to receive this monthly newsletter or join our Facebook group. This newsletter contains links to other events and resources in the community. Unless you are receiving this newsletter directly, some of the links may be disabled. To receive this newsletter directly, sign up at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/surreyneighbouringfaiths/. Our Mission Statement is: “The Surrey Neighbouring Faiths Program builds community capacity for multifaith learning and dialogue with a focus on children and families.” If you have any programming or project ideas that relate to this mission statement, please let me know. We are always open to new ideas! In peace, David Dalley (604) 502-8661 email@example.com “Comforted by how much we share, we’re able to delight in our differences.” - Raffi, from “A Covenant for Honouring Children”
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