People from different religious backgrounds gather at the Thien Ton Buddhist Temple last year.

People from different religious backgrounds gather at the Thien Ton Buddhist Temple last year.

Surrey Interfaith Council to celebrate Harmony Week

Group aiming to bridge the gap between different faith groups.

The Surrey Interfaith Council is celebrating World Interfaith Harmony Week by sponsoring a series of events that are designed to bridge the gap between different faith groups.

The organization, which has been celebrating WIHW (Feb. 1-7) since 2012, works towards connecting faith groups that are interested in achieving similar goals.

The Surrey Interfaith Pilgrimage, which serves as the anchor of the week, will take place Feb. 5. This marks the second year the group will hold the pilgrimage in recognition of WIHW. The event is a spinoff of one the organization held Nov. 20, 2015. That pilgrimage was in response to the Nov. 12, 2015 bombing in southern Beirut that left 43 dead. The following day, there was a series of bombings and mass shootings in Paris that left 130 dead. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria claimed responsibility for both brutal attacks.

“World Interfaith Harmony Week was actually proposed by king Abdullah of Jordan back in 2010,” interfaith council member Gordon Leslie told Peace Arch News last week. “The idea is, again, people around the world from different faith backgrounds coming together and putting on events to celebrate the religious diversity that exists in the world. Try to show how we can all work together to achieve world peace and harmony.”

Members from different faith groups will meet at Thien Ton Buddhist Temple (17192 92 Ave.) in the morning and will also make stops at Laxmi Narayana Hindu Mandir (8321 140 St.), Surrey Jamea Muslim Masjid (7720 124 St.), Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara (7050 120 St.), Northwood United Church (8855 156 St.), and Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara (8115 132 St.).

The public is welcome to attend.

“The idea is you break bread with people along the way… If you’re breaking bread with people, you’re at peace with them, you’re looking for understanding,” Leslie said.

A couple of days before the pilgrimage, the council is sponsoring a Devotional Gathering event held by the Surrey Bahá’í Community in room 120 of the Surrey City Centre Library (10350 University Dr.), from 7-9 p.m. Light refreshments will be served with a program of meditation, prayers, and readings from the scriptures of the world’s various faiths and traditions.

Following that event, on Feb. 4, the council is sponsoring an Interfaith Music and Spoken Word concert, hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Organizers ask that attendees donate a non-perishable food item. Doors to the church (6270 126 St.), open at 6 p.m.

On Feb. 1, 2, and 6 the council is sponsoring an Interfaith Dinner Series. For each evening, someone will open their doors to share a meal with several guests of different religious backgrounds. Inquiries can be made at dinners@surreyinterfaith.ca

More information on the events can be found at www.surreyinterfaith.ca