Our goals: to learn from one another, to celebrate our unity in diversity, and to work respectfully together for the well-being of the community and the world.
- To foster an environment of trust between people of different faith traditions, where open and respectful dialogue can take place;
- To promote collective and co-operative action that fosters intellectual understanding and social interaction, facilitating practical application of wisdom arising from each spiritual community.
- To demonstrate that people of faith can work respectfully together
- To be a resource for the wider community by:
- Responding to emergent humanitarian issues which impact on relationships between communities of Faith
- Liaising with and providing resources to those wanting information and educational material on multi-faith perspectives and social issues
- To increase engaged and committed membership
Board of Directors
The Victoria Multifaith Society Board currently includes the following directors. The dates each member joined the board are given in brackets. Board terms are four years, with a possible extension of 2 years. Annual General Meetings are held towards the end of each year.
In May 2021, VMS named former board member Sheila Flood as its first Executive Director. David Batterham replaced Sheila as the Bahá’í board member.
- Jagir Virk, Sikh board seat (July 2021)
- Shrikant Shenwai, Hindu board seat (November 2021)
- David Batterham, Bahá’í board seat (June 2021)
- Janine Theobald, Buddhist board seat (April 2016)
- Moussa Magassa, Muslim board seat (Oct. 2018)
- Henri Lock, Christian board seat (Oct. 2018) – Secretary
- Ora Stefanic, Jewish board seat (March 2021) – Treasurer
- Dr. John Borrows, Indigenous Spirituality board seat (June 2019) – Chair
In 2001, representatives of several faith communities began to meet regularly, organizing multi-faith gatherings at the Cadboro Bay United Church, and street festivals near St. John’s the Divine Anglican and First Metropolitan United Church. Included in these gatherings were Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Bahá’í, Buddhist, Unitarian and several other faith communities. The response was extraordinary and the need for a formal association was evident.
At a meeting held in April, 2006, at the Interfaith Chapel at UVic, a Board of Directors was elected, and a series of Objectives were adopted. The name Victoria Multifaith Society was chosen. Soon after that we entered discussions with the World Inter-Faith Education Association (BC), an organization with similar objectives which adopted VMS although it was winding down its own activities.
Membership in VMS was and is open to individuals who share in the vision and objectives of the society. It is hoped that the witness and work of the society will represent the very best in our respective faith traditions and lead to greater understanding, respect and co-operation of everyone living in our region.
A Sampling of Past Events
(see also posts on our Home page)
- In February 2016, a Family Faith Fair was held in honour of the United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week with over 150 attending. Eight world faiths had colourful fair exhibits at Cadboro Bay United Church, The Fair also featured a World Café, First Nations dancer Amanda Edward, a report by Dr Sabine Lehr on the refugee sponsorship effort in Victoria, keynote speaker Dan Vaillancourt on “The Soul of Education”, multicultural dances from India and the Philippines, and storytelling. Over $900 was raised for the CBUC’s Syrian refugee sponsorship program.
- 14 October 2015: The Spirit of Health Project, operating under the VMS banner, presented “The Art of Mental and Spiritual Self-Care Forum & Fair” which was sponsored and funded by the UVic Student Mental Health Initiative.
- In May of each year, VMS participates in the World Partnership Walk organized by the Aga Khan Foundation, for charitable projects aimed at “the poorest of the poor”.
- One Spirit, Celebrating Our Faiths Together is a multifaith arts-based devotional and East Indian meal, hosted by VMS and the Hindu Parishad and Cultural Centre in Saanichton, held each September.
- Lunch & Learn: Several series of Lunch & Learn have been hosted by VMS and Christ Church Cathedral from Noon to 1 p.m. weekly, dedicated to learning about world faiths.
- The 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was commemorated in 2008 with a multi-cultual, multi-faith program attended by about 150 people. Venue: Cadboro Bay United Church.
- A Family Faith Fair was held in January 2010, in honour of World Religion Day, with a multi-cultural, multi-faith program, keynote speaker, World Café, and activities for all ages.
- Joint projects were held over several years with the Inter-Cultural Association (ICA) to promote interfaith dialogue and sharing. These included Open Houses hosted by various faith groups, storytelling, and multicultural meals.
A multifaith book club studied the major faiths, each over a 3-month period, through selected literature. (2007-2008).
Learning Circles, 2007, studied one Faith per month, with presenters giving 45 minute overviews followed by questions and answers.
Anyone interested in attending multi-faith activities such as these, who would like to be on the email notification list, may contact firstname.lastname@example.org