Celebrating a Birthday during COVID-19

Last week we issued the Golden Rule Challenge, as a way of inviting a community response and celebrating the many acts of kindness and thoughtfulness that are easing the burden on others and on our shared environment, especially during this challenging time. We are hearing your stories of thoughtfulness and caring and it is especially heart warming to hear how inventive people are in celebrating despite the restrictions placed on us all. Every evening at 7 p.m. the rattle and drum in our neighbourhoods as people clap and bang saucepans to thank the frontline health workers who are risking their own lives to care for people is a sign that we have something to cheer about.

But what about children, stuck inside unable to play with their friends? We have heard back from a few people with stories of how they creatively celebrated birthdays for children in Quarantine.

One family made a birthday sign and wrapped up a gift. They hung the sign on a tree in the child’s yard and left the gift at the door. They then called his mom and asked them to come to the door. He was so happy to receive a gift!

In another neighborhood – friends hung up birthday signs in the windows and chalked messages on the footpath. The family was texted to come to the front door and happy birthday was sung from the driveway.

So if you have birthday coming up in your family or know of a friend needing some birthday cheer. Get creative – and let us know what you did to celebrate.

Golden Rule Challenge





The Golden Rule is ancient and modern, secular and religious, personal and common. It is the universal principle of treating others the way that we want to be treated. It is a powerful tool for all of our relationships – with ourselves, others, animals, and the planet. Now more than ever during this time of crisis, practice of the Golden Rule will help raise people up and alleviate suffering. We at Squamish Multifaith Association would like to celebrate the many acts of kindness and thoughtfulness that are easing the burden on others and on our shared environment. From now until the end of April we are asking people to submit stories that exemplify the Golden rule. We will be posting on our Facebook page, Squamish Multifaith Association, and on our Website squamishmultifaith.org. We hope that this will inspire us all to act in accordance with our higher nature and that we will be a stronger and more loving community when the present crisis is past.

Send your stories to us at:


Please keep them short no longer than 300 words.


Multicultural Day February 01

New Day Gamble Pays Off

Organizers of the Multicultural Day held at Totem Hall on Saturday were banking on the new date in February reaching out to more young people and families. They were not disappointed. The event, a collaboration between Squamish Valley Elders and Squamish Multifaith Association attracted 250 plus with many new faces and participants sharing their cultural and spiritual practices through, song, dance and story.

The celebration was opened by Sisolia (Donna Billy) and members of the Harry family, with cultural teacher Tsawaysia (Alice Guss) leading the attendees in an honor dance to the animal kingdom. Emphasising the importance of our shared humanity and the need to overcome divisions, participants were encouraged to make new friends during the afternoon. February 01 marked the first day of United Nations World Interfaith Harmony week. This harmony was well demonstrated at the community feast where attendees were treated to a diverse menu prepared by Squamish Nation, Sikh Community, Baha’i Community and St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.

Previously held in conjunction with Canada Day, the event was moved to the first week in February to avoid competition with downtown events and to encourage more youth participation. Organizers admitted to being worried about turnout due to new date but prepared enough food to feed 300 and ramped up their promotion for the event. They credited social media, articles in The Chief and Squamish Reporter as well as help from Mountain FM in getting the word out.

Quest University students made a great contribution this year with a number of the students helping with the setup and cooking as well as children’s activities. They also contributed to the cultural performances with two dances from India and a mandolin performance.

Other performances included a traditional dance from the Philippines, a Tai Chi demonstration, hymn jam performed by members of St. John’s Anglican Church, a singing medley performed by Hotspot ESL group and the crowd pleasing performance of a song for peace sung by St. Joseph’s children’s choir. Squamish International Dance Group, lead by Judith Vetch and Patrick Mac Namara, enticed audience participation in dances from New Zealand, Bolivia and South Africa.

A poor sound system that had bedevilled the event in previous years was greatly improved this year through the efforts of Quest student Carl Natiuk and Rev. Cameron Gutjahr. Carl brought his experience to trouble shoot the existing system and Cameron added additional pieces of equipment to allow for a fuller sound and use of digital background music.

The afternoon was brought to a close with the story of the Walking Stick (that held a position of prominence on the stage) told by cultural educator Michael Fraser. Symbolizing peace and dignity, the walking stick journeys between communities bourn by runners and spends time in each community honouring the traditions of the ancestors and dedicated towards building unity and a better tomorrow.

It was a fitting closure for an event that strives to bring diverse people together through shared learning and celebration.

Multicultural Day Totem Hall February 01

A New Day – Same Great Spirit

We are planning to host a Multicultural Day at Totem Hall on February 01 2020. It will be a time for sharing and for learning.

Come celebrate with us at this grassroots event that brings people together in a family oriented joyous celebration of diversity and culture.

Cultural dances, cultural demonstrations, singing, choirs,

art, music, hands on learning ……..

February 01 Poster 2-page-001

Annual General Meeting January 07

Our Annual General Meeting will take place on Tuesday January 07 at 7p.m.

Location – Elders Lounge Totem Hall

Our mission is to build bridges of understanding, respect, and support among diverse people of faith through education, dialogue, service and implementation of the Golden Rule.

Our vision is a community of harmony, goodwill and peace among persons of all faiths and beliefs.

New Members welcome!

Please contact us if you plan on attending and we will be happy to send you an agenda and minutes from last year’s AGM

2019 BC Thanksgiving Food Drive

This annual event in Squamish is coordinated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints in collaboration with Squamish Multifaith Association and the Squamish Foodbank. It enjoys a very broad range of community involvement in distributing flyers, and in collecting and sorting food donations. The Leadership Class at How Sound Secondary School, students of Quest University, the Rotary Club, members of participating Faith Groups along with their friends and neighbours all join hands in this community effort. In addition to volunteers distributing flyers and collecting food, Dominos Pizza fed the volunteers and Shell Gas brought in hot drinks.

A total of 6541lbs of food was collected. Just in time as the food bank shelves had become severely depleted.

It takes some 100 volunteers to distribute flyers, collect donations and sort the food as it comes into the food bank.
A great community effort!

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.


hygiene kit3


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.