Interfaith harmony prize for Calgary! – by Dave Holmes

I must say that there are many exciting things happening in and around Knox these days – so many that I am honestly struggling to keep up! But instead of telling you about what’s happening here at Knox, let me tell you this month about something that is happening around us.

The newly-minted Calgary Interfaith Council (an umbrella organization for interfaith and multifaith work here in Calgary) has won a major international award for the Calgary events of UN Interfaith Harmony Week 2017.

You can find out a bit more by looking up – it is a UN program originated and sponsored by the Kingdom of Jordan. For us in Calgary it has provided a public platform for action and reflection on the strange notion that religions which proclaim love for neighbour can actually get along with each other, and work together as partners. The week included celebrations, dinners, tours of various places of worship, and culminated in the “Building Sacred Bridges” concerts, one of which was held here at Knox.

Calgary Interfaith Harmony Week

In a time of increased division and suspicion between religions, this is good news for Calgary. It’s also very much related to what is happening here at Knox for the next 1100 days (now more like 1050 days). A big part of our efforts at decolonization is to learn to see those of other religions as partners in mission, rather than competitors or antagonists. We want to learn to see the grace of God, active in our neighbours of different or no faith; we want to learn to see how others are already engaged in God’s mission of reconciliation, reconnecting people to each other, to God, to the creation, and to their own best selves.

So what happened in World Interfaith Harmony Week is intimately connected to our Lenten series, for instance, as we learn to pray with our neighbours. It is intimately connected to the work we are doing to support the Healing Lodge that William Bellegarde is leading, and the efforts at reconciliation and right relations with First Nations both in the United Church and the Metro Alliance for the Common Good. It’s part of our work to build networks like MACG and the Interfaith Council.

So congratulations Calgary – especially all those who made the Interfaith Harmony events possible!  And may God continue to bless all our efforts at reconnection and reconciliation.


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