Responding to the Refugee Crisis

VMS was happy to support the Refugee information meeting put on by the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria on 21 July 2018 at Cadboro Bay United Church, to encourage sponsorship of BVOR refugees. Aviva Basman of the UN Refugee Agency gave an excellent overview, followed by former refugee and TED-x speaker Mohammed Alsaleh, as well as two members of local sponsorship groups.

The meeting attracted almost 90 people, with several people immediately offering to form a sponsorship group for a family of five with only days left on the BVOR list. It’s hoped that further groups will also form as a result of the meeting.

If you weren’t able to attend or didn’t fill out the survey when there, please contact Sabine Lehr of ICA at slehr@icavictoria.org for more information or to join a sponsorship group. If you attended and filled out the survey, Sabine will be in contact with you.

All BVOR refugees are at least partially funded and travel ready, i.e. they should arrive 6 to 12 weeks after the arrangements are completed. To meet Canada’s goals and take advantage of the funding offered by the federal government, many more sponsorship groups are needed. These groups welcome refugees, find accommodations and oversee various aspects of integration into the community during their first year of residence in Victoria.

A big round of thanks to all the volunteers who helped make the meeting happen! You’ll find links here to a short video of the talk given by Mohammed Alsaleh on 21 July, and to the CHEK news report of the event.

World Partnership Walk and Asian Heritage Festival

The Victoria Multifaith Society is once again supporting this effort to build a more peaceful, prosperous and equal world for all. The money raised will support AKFC programs in Africa and Asia, enabling families and communities to lift themselves out of poverty through access to quality education, life-saving health services, food security and improved livelihoods.

VMS is encouraging members of all faith communities in Victoria to:

Join the VMS Teammeeting at McPherson Library front entrance at 10:30 a.m. 

Help raise funds & awareness for this great cause! Contributions can be made online.

 


Registration starts at 9:30am; Opening ceremonies at 10:30am;

Asian Heritage Celebrations & Food Bazaar at 12:00pm

Courtyard, McPherson Library, University of Victoria (free parking Sundays – map here)


 

The World Partnership Walk is an initiative of Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC) and Canada’s largest movement dedicated to raising funds and increasing awareness to fight global poverty.

We would greatly appreciate your support. Every contribution matters and every dollar raised will help make a difference!

Click here to view the Team page for Victoria Multifaith Society

WIHW 2018 Report & Photos

Event video**

The collaborative VMS/MFS event in honour of UN World Interfaith Harmony Week, Creating Our Future: Visioning a Sustainable Compassionate World , was held 4 February, with over 150 attending. Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps opened the afternoon with enthusiasm for genuine civic discourse and warm encouragement for interfaith harmony.  MC Paul Bramadat, Director of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, echoed these sentiments in remarks regarding the need for positive dialogue about the kind of future we all want. Dr. Bramadat also expressed a valuable historical perspective, noting the way interfaith dialogue has moved beyond educating each other to actually increasing our interconnectedness.

Professional storyteller Shoshana Litman included the audience in her beautifully enacted story about a “Balagan” – a big mess – an apt analogy for our present times! First Nations speaker Tiffany Joseph, young and passionate about her heritage, won hearts with her story of surpassing boundaries.  Several of the speakers wove their personal stories into their moving responses regarding the needs of the future.

VMS and co-sponsor UVic Multifaith Services are very grateful for the time and effort all made for this event – Tiffany of the W̱SÁNEĆ (Saanich) and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) cultures, Rabbi Louis Sutker of Congregation Emanu-El,  Imam Ismail Nur of the Sunni Muslim community, Gita Badiyan of the Bahá’í community, Wayne Codling of the Soto Zen lineage, Unitarian minister and MFS chaplain Rev. Shana Lynngood, Lutheran Aneeta Saroop who graciously agreed on short notice to replace a panelist forced to cancel, and VMS board member Parminder Virk. In Shoshana’s words, Kol hakavod (all the honour) to everyone involved!

Special thanks as well to Sabine Lehr of the Inter-Cultural Association (ICA) who spoke of present refugee needs in Victoria, the SingYourJoy Young Adult Chorus whose voices raised everyone’s spirits, and all our wonderful volunteers in IT, displays, greeting, set up/take down and those who made and served the much appreciated refreshments. It was a huge team effort! Many, many thanks to all!

Thanks too, to Steve Baileys of ICA for this WIHW 2018 photo album! Great work!

** Thanks to Paulo Travassos for his work in recording and editing the event video.

Apologies to viewers that the video is missing the story told by Shoshana Litman. Permission was given by the story’s author for narration but wasn’t extended to video rights.

UN World Interfaith Harmony Week 2018

Creating our Future: Visioning a Sustainable, Compassionate World

1:00 p.m. Sunday, 4 February, 2018

David Lam Auditorium, MacLaurin Building, University of Victoria

How can the sacred wisdom of the diverse peoples of the world assist us in building a sane, peaceful, compassionate world civilization?

To be held in honour of UN World Interfaith Harmony Week and the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Creating the Future is co-sponsored by UVic Multifaith Services and VMS. It will feature a diverse panel drawn from the world’s great spiritual traditions, storytelling, song, displays and refreshments.

Seventy years ago, the UN General Assembly, echoing the strongest values of our spiritual traditions, proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This ground-breaking document speaks of “the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”

For all our amazing material progress, since the time of the Declaration in 1948, we’ve slid towards insularity, polarizing ideologies, and ecological crisis. Our increasing inter-connectedness has forced the issue of ethics. As noted by human rights lawyer Payam Akhavan in the most recent series of CBC Massey Lectures, “our survival depends on acceptance of a transcendent ethos of human dignity for all.”

Panelists from 8 spiritual traditions will give succinct 7-minute presentations on the question: “What teachings from your tradition can help to guide our vision of a sustainable and compassionate world?”,  followed by a 20-minute Q & A period. Interspersed throughout the program will be storytelling, song, and displays, with an opportunity for mingling and refreshments at the end. All are welcome. Free parking on Sundays.

Press release for WIHW 4 Feb 2018

Times-Colonist article

WIHW 4 Feb 2018 Poster

Community Conversations: Living Well Dying Well

Sundays, 2 – 4:30 p.m., monthly sessions January to May 2018

Doors Open 1:30 p.m. (street parking)

1600 Cook St., corner of Cook & Mason

Free Registration online: Eventbrite: Community Conversations

The world’s faith traditions offer a veritable mountain of wisdom on this theme, their teachings enshrining eternal truths and reinforcing each other’s strengths and unique insights into the spiritual nature of living well and dying with dignity.

The Victoria Multifaith Society launched the Living Well Dying Well project at its 2017 Annual General Meeting and will hold 5 monthly sessions between January and May 2018. The idea arose in collaboration with Kim Holl of the Centre for Earth and Spirit.

“In many communities and families, aging, death and dying are often topics we avoid.  In the absence of these meaningful conversations, there is a good chance that we will face end of life issues in crisis, with fear, anxiety and isolation.  What if we could talk openly about aging, death and dying as part of living vibrantly?”

FORMAT

Kim Holl will act as project leader and facilitator for the sessions, which will feature keynote speakers for each theme and small table “community conversations”, followed by refreshments and time to socialize.

1:30 p.m.      Doors open

2 p.m.           Welcome, Sacred Opening

2:20 p.m.      Keynote by guest speaker

2:30 p.m.      Small table conversations

3:45 p.m.      Sharing highlights

4:00 p.m.      Sacred Closing, Social, refreshments

SCHEDULE

21 Jan.         Entering the Forbidden Conversation  

Normalizing the conversation around aging, death and dying

18 Feb.         Aging in our Culture – Role of the Elder

Wisdom from our culture & beliefs that offer a gift for navigating aging, death & dying

25 Mar.         Transforming Grief

 Exploring creative ways to transform grief, honour emerging wisdom, and affirm life

22 Apr.          Life Beyond Life

What do we believe?  What is our experience?

27 May         Legacy—Living Well Giving Well

What is our Legacy? How do we move towards it?

FACILITATOR KIM HOLL

As a storyteller, social entrepreneur and compassionate communicator, Kim spent a decade and a half in the USA working with a diverse group of non-profits leading social change initiatives. She has worked with urban, rural, inner-city and First Nations communities, facilitating innovative, arts- and adventure-based programs that focus on bullying prevention and anti-violence, restorative practices, community engagement, and using philanthropy to inspire social change.

SPECIAL THANKS

The VMS board would like to thank the planning team: Kim Holl, Rev. Terri Woolgar, Cathy Nilson and Sheila Flood. We would also like to thank the Open Door Sanctuary Spiritualist community for offering their beautiful and very comfortable space on Cook St. to host the series.

Facebook Event Page

Lunch & Learn – New Series

Lunch & Learn: 5 weekly sessions

Multifaith Perspectives on Modern Issues

Noon – 1 p.m., Thursdays, 18 Jan – 15 Feb. 2018, Doors open 11:40 a.m.

Chapter Room, Christ Church Cathedral, Burdett entrance

The new series titled, “Lunch & Learn:  Multifaith Perspectives on Modern Issues” is scheduled to be offered over lunch times on the five Thursdays between 18 January and 15 February, inclusive.  This is a follow-up to a successful series held in the Fall and Winter of 2016 / 2017 (An Introduction to Religions of the World).  Participants are invited to bring lunch if they wish. Tea, coffee and juice will be provided, thanks to the generous support of Christ Church Cathedral. Last year several attended as part of their workday lunch time.

Each week a panel of three or four leaders of diverse world faiths will respond to a predetermined, current topic or theme that has contemporary relevance.

The intent of this series is to move beyond introductions to religions and look at how faith communities hold beliefs informed by the scriptural authority of their faith.  This process maybe described as “Scriptural Reasoning” or “Scriptural Reflection” – reflecting together on sacred texts.

SCHEDULE:

  • January 18 Reconciliation / Forgiveness
  • January 25 Environmental Stewardship
  • February 01 Caring for the Vulnerable
  • February 08 The Education of Children
  • February 15 The Afterlife

PROJECT COORDINATOR: Malcolm Read Ph.D., Member of Warden Team, Christ Church Cathedral

This series is a collaborative effort of Christ Church Cathedral and the Victoria Multifaith Society.

 

Online memberships and donations

VMS now has the ability to accept membership fees and donations online, by clicking on the “Donate” button. Contributors can pay either through PayPal or credit card. Please complete the “Donate” form for both memberships and donations. When complete, you’ll be redirected back to this website.



The Victoria Multifaith Society is a registered charity, run completely on a volunteer basis. Our main sources of funds are membership fees and donations. Membership fees are $10 per year for individuals and $50 per year for organizations and congregations.  

We are also appreciative of all donations, which allow us to continue to provide our many events and programs. Receipts are available for donations of $20 or over, memberships excluded.

Thank you for your support!

Board Re-election

The VMS board was re-elected at the recent 26 November AGM, with 2 new members. Parminderjeet Virk rejoined the board in the Sikh seat after an absence taken to pursue her studies, and Henri Lock of the United Church replaced Malcolm Read, who stepped down as the Christian board member. The board is very grateful to Malcolm for his exemplary service over the past year, as he launched and hosted the very successful Multifaith Lunch & Learn series at Christ Church Cathedral. We’re very happy to report that Malcolm will again host the noontime series at Christ Church Cathedral, in a slightly different format, from Jan. 18 – Feb. 15, 2018.

Henri Lock, a chaplain for over 20 years with the University of Victoria’s Multifaith Services, is warmly welcomed as our new Christian board member. Henri’s experience is especially appreciated, with VMS seeking to involve and serve greater numbers of youth.

The AGM also served as the project launch of our upcoming monthly Living Well Dying Well program, (Jan – May 2018). Many thanks to expert facilitator Kim Holl, of the Centre for Earth & Spirit!

L-R Sridevi Ganti, Janine Theobald, Christine Johnston,Shoshana Litman, Ali Hemani, Sheila Flood. Parminderjeet Virk. Missing is the new VMS Christian board member Henri Lock of the United Church.

 

VMS Membership Renewal

VMS membership can be renewed at any time, at $10 per year for an individual member, or $50 per year for an organization or faith group. VMS is a completely volunteer group with charitable status; membership provides the majority of its funds. Tax receipts are available.

Our Annual General Meeting on Sunday, 26 November, will provide an opportunity to renew or begin membership. AGM details are below.

Our email distribution list can also be joined by emailing victoriamultifaith@gmail.com; you can unsubscribe any time at the same address.

Don’t forget to add yourself as a member of the Facebook page, even if you’re on the email list. Quick updates and notifications are sent that way more often than any other.