UN Interfaith Harmony Week begins February 1

Ever wondered “What do they do in there?” In the Ummah Mosque off Windsor Street? In the Sikh Gurdwara off the Purcell’s Cove Road? At the Shambhala Buddhist Centre on Tower Road?

Police officer Trudi McCulloch wondered.

This is what she said about her experience in 2017.   “I have been wanting for some time to visit different sacred spaces within HRM but did not know how to go about organizing the visits. This was a well-organized event that allowed me to visit sacred spaces with others who share similar interest in the same quest.  I didn’t feel alone and felt very welcome at the different sacred spaces.  I strongly believe as police officers we need to try and understand the diverse community we serve.”

Plans are well underway for the 2018 week-long celebration of World Interfaith Harmony Week in Halifax. The planning team, Interfaith Harmony Halifax (IHH), represents diverse community partners, cultures, ages, skills, and abilities, along with diverse faiths and people of good will.

Initiated in 2010 the vision of the Week is to spread harmony through promoting Love of God, the Good, and Neighbour. Each year King Abdullah II of Jordan awards three prizes for events held worldwide.

IFW-2018-Photo1Canada is the only country to have been recognized three years consecutively.  In 2015 Toronto won the third prize of $5000. In 2016 Halifax was awarded the third prize again, and in 2017 Calgary won the first prize of $25,000.  They were chosen from among hundreds of global events. The judges were impressed with Halifax’s wide impact, including the proclamations from the province of Nova Scotia and the city of Halifax.

Among highlights of the Week are visits to meet our neighbours in their sacred spaces, including Baha’i, Brahma Kumaris, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Indigenous,  Jewish, Muslim, Pagan, Quaker, Sikh, Taoist, and Universalist Unitarian communities.

This year’s hosts met at a gathering in October to learn more about the vision of this event, and about what is expected of hosts. Such annual lead-up gatherings serve to promote community and connection among people of diverse traditions and goodwill.

An Interfaith Celebration will be held on Sunday, February 4, 2018 from 7-9 p.m. at Halifax Central Library’s O’Regan Hall, with displays open at 6:30 p.m.  The night’s program consists of music, dance and prayers with a social gathering  and refreshments at 8:30.  The Central Library is a co-host of this event  and will carry information in the Library guide as well as displays at the various branches in January.

The visits to any place or event are open to the public and are free and a no-fee registration is available   for the Interfaith Engagement program. This includes a commitment to visit at least three of the sacred spaces, attend the Sunday celebration, and to reflect on their experiences in pre- and post-week gatherings of registrants.

Early bird registration begins January 5, 2018, with final registration mid-January.   To learn more about Interfaith Harmony Halifax events for the week, or to register for the Interfaith Engagement program, visit http://www.ihhalifax.ca, or email info@ihhalifax.ca.



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