Eating and Walking, Praying and Talking: Diverse Celebrations in Surrey Mark United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week
People on Interfaith walk in Surrey hope to promote acceptance
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News: Surrey Interfaith News
We envision a city where all faiths live in greater harmony and contribute to a better community
Surrey Interfaith Council and Amazing Tutors Pursue Interfaith Harmony, Peace and Non-Violence within our City
An Interfaith Pilgrimage took place this Sunday, February 5, 2017 the final day of United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week. The purpose of the event was to bring people from diverse backgrounds and worldviews together to affirm our collective commitment to building peace and understanding in our community. The pilgrimage began with an exchange of blessings for peace and understanding at the Thien Ton Buddhist Temple, and went past six other houses of worship: Northwood United Church, Laxmi Narayan Hindu Mandir, Canadian Singh Sabha Sikh Gurdwara, Surrey Jamia Muslim Masjid, St. Mathew's Church, and ended at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara. A small ceremony was hosted at each site to cultivate in people a deeper sense of their own religious identity, while also building relationships with people who are different.
The five-hour, 16.2 kilometer pilgrimage was open to all members of the community, and there was no cost to participate. A generous lunch was served to everyone at the Laxmi Narayan Hindu Mandir, and dinner was served at the Sikh Gurdwara. Participants were able to join at the beginning or at any of the meet-up points. David Dalley and the event organizers came from a range of diverse backgrounds and worldviews including Atheism, Baha'i, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism.
Sikandar Hayat, a director from our Amazing Tutors Children's Foundation, reflects on why he chose to lend a hand: "The goal was to develop a sense of mutual trust, respect, and understanding across religious traditions, and to reduce religiously motivated violence, stereotyping, bigotry, or hatred. Uniting people across faith and ideological lines creates an environment of interfaith harmony."
"When we are confronted with deep loss, fear often emerges in our thoughts. Walking together is a tangible, bodily demonstration of unity that reminds us to let go of fear and to move forward in love," says Scott Reynolds, an event organizer and Minister of Youth and Young Adults from the United Churches of Langley, Canada.
Connie Waterman, an event organizer from the Baha'i Community, reflected on the role of religious values in creating peace: "Each one of us has the ability, individuality and collectively, to be compassionate, selfless and loving. These attributes are strengthened by religious values taught by all the world's great religions. Together we can create a better world by concentrating all the thoughts of our heart on love and unity, then aligning our actions to reflect that thought."
The Amazing Tutors Children's Foundation appreciates David Dalley, Dr. Das, Connie Waterman, Jonquil Hallgate, Scott Reynolds, our amazing directors and the entire Surrey Interfaith Council for pursuing interfaith harmony, peace and non-violence within our city. Thank you, Surrey Interfaith Council, for providing the opportunity for all of us to participate in a giving and caring community.
An Encouragement from the Surrey Interfaith Council
As news of yet another terrifying story of religiously and politically motivated violence flooded the airwaves yesterday. I found it hard not to think about what such an incident would feel like if it happened in our community. I find it hard not to imagine what it would be like to be there, or to receive word that my friends or family had been involved. These are difficult things to think about. Imagining these things comes easy, but I never stop there. It is, however, more difficult to imagine what it is that we need to be doing to prevent such an incident or to build up resilience to recover from one. While horrible acts like the attacks in Beirut, Paris, Brussels and yesterday's attack in Lahore dominate our news cycles and psyches for weeks, the work that we need to be doing is quite the opposite. The work that we need to be doing to build resiliency in our community against religiously motivated violence is quiet and unassuming. It is never glamorous. It rarely captures the attention of media. It takes place in our houses and neighbourhoods. It takes place between people. It is vital. I often think of the hours that people spend watching TV and on social media in the wake of a terrorist attack. I imagine what would happen if all of us, collectively, used just a portion of that time to go out into our neighbourhood and meet someone different from us. I imagine how that would lessen the feelings of fear, isolation, alienation and oppression that exists in our community, and that lead to events like what we saw yesterday in Brussels. If you can imagine something that needs to happen in our community to prevent or build resilience against religiously motivated violence, now is the time to speak up and engage those around you.
-David Dalley, Surrey Interfaith Council
A Kind Word from our Amazing Tutors Children's Foundation
"We are united in promoting interfaith cooperation and dialogue, to end politically and religiously motivated violence, and to create cultures of peace, justice, respect, understanding, and healing for all living beings and the earth."
At Amazing Tutors Children's Foundation, we believe in engaging youths in community programs that build character, increase self-esteem and, develop life skills. Social development programs such as these provide both children and teens with positive peer interactions, opportunities to develop problem-solving skills, and positive adult support, which help reduce the risk factors associated with young offenders. We feel extremely blessed to have been given the opportunity by the Surrey Interfaith Council to engage with the community in such an important way, and to get our students out and volunteering to aid interfaith cooperation and dialogue that will positively impact so many lives.
Here at Amazing Tutors and our foundation, we believe that providing our students with positive and community based volunteer activities is an essential part of their development into responsible and capable citizens whom we hope will continue to impact their communities throughout their lives. Through our collaborative social events, they will find the sense of community and support that comes from associating with like-minded people. Our foundation supports individuals in exploring and accelerating their spiritual growth by utilizing many of the world's faith teachings, philosophy and science to provide them with powerful tools for self-understanding and greater happiness.
At our Amazing Tutors Children's Foundation, we enable our youths to be brave and resourceful by taking action for a better world. Our youths strengthen their leadership skills by taking the lead in learning to organize events and teaching each other new development skills. Our LEAD programs include leadership, education, and development programs that are of substantial benefit to our community. Amazing Tutors develops proactive activities that deal with academic coaching, mentoring, self-esteem, relief of poverty, advancement of education, religion, charitable works and fundraising. They test their limits as they push themselves to overcome obstacles and achieve new goals. Our youths are provided with ample opportunities to take action on issues important to them and to make an impact on their community through service and fundraising projects.
Amazing Tutors Children's Foundation also believes in providing access to organized sports which are used throughout the world as a dynamic mechanism to engage youth of all races, genders, and classes. Though organized sports and development programs are not the complete solution to stopping negative behaviors, they can, however, contribute to their
reduction by giving young people a positive identity, feelings of empowerment and by helping youth acquire leadership, teamwork, and self-governance skills under adult supervision. Thank you to the numerous donors, countless individuals and families who support our foundation's work. We are most grateful for your support in reaching out to our youths and the most needy of our community. Thank you, Surrey Interfaith Council, for providing the opportunity for all of us to participate in a giving and caring community. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to bridge cultural and religious differences within our communities.
Amazing Tutors Children's Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of children and families from around the world. We offer a positive path for spiritual living with teachings that help people live healthy, meaningful lives. Join us and help us build a better world for our children!
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