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Eating and Walking, Praying and Talking: Diverse Celebrations in Surrey Mark United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week

World Interfaith Harmony Week is designated by the United Nations as a time when diverse religious, spiritual and secular groups around the world come together to promote and affirm peace and harmony in their communities. Surrey is a leading example of interfaith cooperation in British Columbia and members of the Surrey Interfaith Council are hosting a number of events during the week.

“The Surrey Interfaith Council builds bridges of cooperation between people from different religious, spiritual and secular backgrounds. We work together, walk together, meditate together and break bread together, and in doing so we create more peace and justice in our community,” says Jonquil Hallgate, a member of the Council.

“I believe our local communities are united in promoting interfaith cooperation and dialogue to end religiously motivated violence, to bridge cultural and religious differences, and to cultivate cultures of peace, understanding and healing for all living beings on earth,” Says Suzanne Hayat, also a member of the Surrey Interfaith Council.

The event organizers come from a range of backgrounds and worldviews including Atheism, Bahá’í, Buddhism, Christianity Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism.

Surrey Interfaith Pilgrimage

The Surrey Interfaith Pilgrimage takes place on Sunday, February 7. The 16.3km route starts at the Thien Ton Buddhist Temple (17192 – 96 Avenue) at 9:30am. Lunch is provided at the Laxmi Narayana Hindu Mandir (8321 – 140 Street) between 12:30-1:30pm. The Pilgrimage concludes with dinner provided by Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara (7050 – 120 Street). Rest, water and washroom stops are available along the route at Northwood United Church, Canadian Singh Sabha Gurdwara and Surrey Jamea Muslim Masjid. There is no fee to participate. For complete and up-to-date information please visit: http://www.surreyinterfaith.ca/event/surrey-interfaith-pilgrimage/ or contact Connie Waterman at connie.waterman@gmail.com.

Interfaith Panel Discussion

An Interfaith Panel Discussion takes place on Saturday, February 6, 1:00-4:00pm at Northwood United Church (8855 – 156 Street). The panel consists of representatives from a range of faith communities who will speak on the theme of “Negotiating Peace Through Faith.” The event is free and refreshments are provided. This event is hosted by the Global Clergy Association of Canada. For more information please contact Dr. Jagessar Das at dasj.kabir@gmail.com.

Interfaith Food Ministry

The Interfaith Food Ministry team will be serving a meal in the parking lot of Victory Family Church at 10664 – 135A Street, Surrey, across the from the Front Room Homeless Shelter on February 6 at 10:45am. This event is part of an ongoing community-led “Interfaith Bi-Weekly Food Ministry” that has been serving food and providing clothing every secondSaturday for the past four years to people who are homeless in the Whalley neighbourhood. The nutritious meals are home cooked by members of the group. For more information please contact Arun Chatterjee at arunavc@hotmail.com.

Surrey Interfaith Contemplative Gathering

The Surrey Interfaith Contemplative group hosts an interfaith meditation gathering on February 5, 7:15-8:30pm. The group is made up of people from different religious, spiritual and secular backgrounds that meet regularly for contemplative practice and community building. For more information, contact Connie Waterman at connie.waterman@gmail.com.

Interfaith Dinners

Throughout the week, a series of interfaith dinner gatherings takes place in which hosts are matched with guests from different faith traditions. People from diverse religious, spiritual and secular backgrounds are invited to volunteer to be a host or guest by contacting organizer Scott Reynolds at scottrobertreynolds@gmail.com.

For more information on UN World Interfaith Harmony Week, please visit: www.worldinterfaithharmonyweek.com. For more information on the Surrey Interfaith Council or any of the above events events, please visit www.surreyinterfaith.ca or contact David Dalley at info@surreyinterfaith.ca or (778) 988-3549.

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