World Interfaith Harmony Week February 01-07

As we celebrate World Interfaith Harmony Week, members of Squamish Multifaith Association got together for a very “hands on”  – service project. Our group decided to gather supplies and put together hygiene gift bags for women and children staying at Pearl’s Place.

The idea was generated at our January 24thannual general meeting as we learned through United Religion Initiative that this week was happening throughout the world. Friends from LDS shared that their community planned on doing something in support of women in need during the first week in February. Other members of the association agreed to join with them and support an effort for our local transition house. The word was spread that donations and supplies were needed and those wishing to help could join us on Monday February 05th.

Friends from different faith groups got together and shared supper at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints and set to work assembling the gift bags. With the help of individuals and Faith Group contributions we were able to put together 40 care packages containing supplies such as soap, toothpaste, shampoo, washcloths, feminine hygiene products and underwear.

Pearl’s Place Transition House, located in Squamish, is a safe environment for women and children who are leaving abusive relationships or at risk of experiencing violence and otherwise unsafe living conditions. Women often arrive in emergency situations with little in the way of supplies. By putting some basic care products together in gift bags we hope to send the message that we care and support them in this time of uncertainty.

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Annual General Meeting January 24th

uri square logo

Squamish Multifaith Association will be holding its Annual General Meeting on Thursday January 24th at 7p.m. at Squamish United Church, 38014 – 4th Ave. We hope you can join us. New members are welcome. The meeting portion will be short as our board is elected for two years and 2019 is not an election year. After our reports for 2018 activities are completed, we will be joined by Sari Heidenreich of United Religions Initiative (URI). Squamish Multifaith Association has recently become a collaborating circle with URI. The purpose of URI is to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings. We are delighted to be extending our network of collaboration and learning. Sari will be providing us (via a video conference call ) with an orientation to the work of URI and how we can maximize our efforts together.

 

 

Unity in Diversity Dinner 2018

This was our 7th annual dinner with approx. 40 people in attendance. The evening began with a shared meal prepared by participating faith groups, followed by a slide presentation on our 2018 activities. Keynote speaker, Connie Waterman, Vice President Multifaith Action Society presented on the 2018 World Parliament of Religions and its role in pursuing Global Understanding, Reconciliation, and Change. An historical and current overview provided a context for this periodic gathering of the world’s religions and its ever widening embrace.

Slide presentation Geraldine

Volunteers Secret to Success of BC Thanksgiving Food Drive

In an ideal world there would be no need for food banks, everyone’s means would be sufficient to support themselves and their families. We do know that currently 400-500 men, women and children use the Squamish Food Bank each month. While this situation remains there will be a need for community support for our local food bank, which is why the annual BC Thanksgiving Food Drive is so important. This event is a collaboration between the Squamish Multifaith association, the local branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints and the Squamish Food Bank. We have a plan and a system but the success of the event is due in great part to a host of wonderful volunteers and the generosity of Squamish residents.

 

The 2018 BCTFD took place on Saturday September 15 and resulted in 8469 lbs of food collected and sorted, replenishing the Squamish Food Bank’s store of non-perishable food items. This large injection of non-perishable food is expected to last until Christmas. The wonderful thing about this event is that everyone can help regardless of age, whether stapling flyers to some 5000 bags, delivering them to specified routes or collecting the donation on the big day. Squamish is a fairly mobile community so while many volunteers return to help year after year, there is always a need for new volunteers. This year saw several routes adopted as a family activity. Students of the Leadership Class at Howe Sound Secondary took on nine routes and ten students from Quest spent the day at the food bank sorting the collected donations. RBC also sent a team to help. The Sikh Temple does a special collection each year to coincide with the event, which is a very welcome additional contribution.

 

Each year the network of volunteers and donors broadens making this effort one that continues to engage the community in an act of service and love. For that we give thanks.

BC Thanksgiving Food Drive 2018

BC Thanksgiving Food Drive 2018 – Coming to your neighbourhood Saturday September 15

 

The BCTFD Project is a province-wide initiative that helps feed thousands across BC who rely on food banks for their basic nutritional needs.

In Squamish, the BCTFD event involves some 100 volunteers providing service to the community. In 2017 we were able to visit some 4000 homes, and collected more than 9000 pounds of non-perishable food for the Squamish Food Bank.

 

The local BCTFD event in Squamish is coordinated by the Squamish Multifaith Association in partnership with the Squamish branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Squamish Food Bank.

 

Bodhi McKinney of Squamish Food Bank had this to say about the annual drive:

“With the support of the BC Thanksgiving Food Drive, our Food bank can support those of our community that are in need. Many people in Squamish experience food shortages, causing them and their children to go without meals and proper nutrition. Between 400 and 500 people rely on our Food Bank every month, including seniors, those on disability or assistance, employed people on low incomes, families, and children!

Your contributions during this food drive, with food or cash donations, are an important part of supporting those facing food insecurity in Squamish. Please give generously.”

 

Saturday September 15 is collection day.

Donation bags and boxes will be picked up on the morning of September 15 and brought directly to Squamish Food Bank where they will be sorted and stocked by our wonderful volunteers.

 

We look forward to another successful food drive this year.

 

For more information or to volunteer, please contact Geraldine Guilfoyle 604-848-4807 gerguilfoyle@me.com

bctfooddrive.org.

March 03 World Day of Prayer

All God’s Creation is Very Good!

Dear friends – every year the World Council of Churches organizes a World Day of Prayer with a particular theme in mind. This year the theme is care of the environment.

It is  a multi denominational Christian service developed each year by different countries. The invitation is open to all and is a good opportunity to meet others and learn.
The theme for the Suriname worship service urges us to evaluate how our actions affect our planet – one of our Lord’s greatest creations.
The environmental crisis is also a crisis of global justice. God’s justice always meant loving and sacrificial self-giving. We, as Christians cannot be silent. We live with the hope and belief that people have the means, and increasingly, the will to focus on justice, peace, and the integrity of creation.

To recycle is to give a new use to objects, thus reducing the consumption of resources that may degrade the planet. We may use the way we do WDP activities to educate and campaign for climate justice.
REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE! 
 
All are invited to celebrate World Day of Prayer 2018. 
 
Saturday, March 3 at 2:00pm at:
St. John the Divine Anglican Church – 1930 Diamond Road, Squamish
Meg Toom of WildSafeBC  speaks on the theme:      All God’s Creation is Very Good!
                
For more information, please contact:  Pam Tattersfield     604-996-1161
This service is organized by:
The River Church                   St. Joseph’s Catholic Church
Squamish United Church       St. John the Divine Anglican Church

From Fear to Hope

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Geraldine Guilfoyle presents Fr. Mark Bautista with the 2018 Multifaith Calendar

The 2017 Unity in Diversity Dinner took place Friday October 27th at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. This was the first time that St. Joseph’s had hosted the event. A wonderful turnout and welcome from their congregation provided the opportunity to meet and forge new friendships. The food, as always was a sharing event with a variety of dishes being served by the Sikh Temple, St. Joseph’s, Baha’i Community and bannock made by Squamish Nation elder, Donna Billy.

This year instead of having a speaker, we showed a Ted talk about an initiative in Kenya to overcome the fear of terrorism through multifaith solidarity that culminated in painting houses of worship yellow. Following the viewing, each table was asked to discuss a series of questions around fear and ways of overcoming fear of the unknown and those they knew little about.

Recurring themes in what created fear included; fear of exclusion, being misunderstood, prejudice and lack of understanding of the other’s worldview. Ways of overcoming fear and creating environments of understanding included; creating spaces for people to come together and learn about each other such as the Multifaith dinner. More collaborative events and more education can create the desire to know one another and to understand and accept each other as humans. Choosing hope over fear was seen as a commitment to the the process.

The 2018 Multifaith calendar was on sale at the event and Fr. Mark was gifted one as a thank you for offering St. Joseph’s as a host for this year’s dinner.

 

Canada 150 Multicultural Day Totem Hall

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The annual July 01 Multicultural Day at Totem Hall was marked this year by a ceremonial canoe pull up the Mamquam Blind Channel to the Stawamus Village site. The ocean going canoe was organized by Tsawaysia (Alice Guss). Paddlers included Squamish Nation members, district officials and volunteers. Mayor Patricia Heintzman and Councillor Susan Chapelle represented the district in what was a bracing effort against the wind and chop. A courtesy dinghy from Squamish Yacht Club escorted them during the passage.

The celebration was opened by elders Gwen Harry and Donna Billy with Mayor Heintzmein presenting a poem that spoke from the heart of broken relationships and the need for true reconciliation. Over 300 participants enjoyed the shared food and cultural presentations that followed. Feast was prepared by Squamish Nation, Sikh Community and Baha’i Community. Cultural presentations included Bhangra dancing, Filipino and World Folk Dancing as well as vendor tables and a children’s art project.

 

See below poem offered by Patricia Heinztman at opening ceremony.

Truth, Reconciliation.

Is more than an apology and deprecation

a prayer to remove a stain upon our nation,

a shame rooted in colonial aspiration.

 

This failure of Christianity,

of humanity,

our arrogance and vanity,

is Canada’s unfortunate profanity.

Our era without sanity.

 

With complete disregard and without

considerations,

deference and dignity, and with near surgical

abalations,

we systematically cut the First Nations,

demoralized generations,

destroyed languages and cultures to the quick’

realpolitick.

 

So it’s time to be introspective.

Not just to remember our history selective.

150 years we’ve been in denial

of this bias we must reconcile.

 

The art of the possible is what I choose,

It’s harmony that we should collectively infuse

to rectify this system of abuse.

A country’s consciousness to transfuse.

 

With prisms new and a sense of hope,

positive reflections viewed through a common

kaleidoscope,

evolving patterns, transparent, rotating perspectives

engender a uniquely Canadian antidote.

 

We’re birds of a feather,

in the same canoe pulling together.

After all, humanism is Canada’s shared endeavour,

everyone’s welfare our promotion, our devotion…

whatsoever

C’est notre raison d’etre, it’s in our DNA.

And it’s why we’re here to celebrate Canada Day

We all need to hear what our first peoples have to

say to usher in a bright new day.

 

O’siem

 

Multicultural Day at Totem Hall- July 01, 1-4 p.m.

In the summer of 1993. a group of youth traveled across Canada on a bus called Peace Bus ’93. They came from diverse backgrounds and their mission was to foster friendship between the many different peoples that make up our great country. Squamish was a stop along the way where they were hosted by the Squamish Nation and spent one night bunking down at the old Totem Hall. Gwen Harry and Donna Billy put out a call to local church and religious groups to help with food and hospitality. The local Sikh and Baha’i Communities responded and something wonderful was set in motion. Everyone had such a good time, sharing food, stories and music. Friendships were forged and all decided that this coming together to share and celebrate each other’s diversity must continue. Multicultural Day at Totem Hall was born. What better day to celebrate this than Canada Day. Over the years other faith groups have joined in the celebrations allowing for a more diverse expression of faith and culture but one thing remains constant – a time to share and celebrate together.

Please join us this year on July 01, Canada 150 celebrations, at Totem Hall. Event starts at 1 p.m. with Community Feast served at 1:30 p.m.

Gather round Squamish Drummers and hear the beat of the nations.

Learn and participate in traditional folk dancing.

Catch the excitement of Bhangra dancers and enjoy the grace of Filipino Traditional Dance with St. Joseph’s Youth Group. There will children’s activities and much more.