Mormon Newsroom
News Release

Canadian Multiculturalism Day
Not Just an Annual Celebration

In the Etobicoke (Toronto), Ontario, congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, multiculturalism isn’t just an annual celebration; it’s a way of life. With congregants from 72 different countries, diversity is one of the congregation’s greatest strengths.

In November 2002, the Government of Canada designated 27 June of each year as Canadian Multiculturalism Day. The day is “an opportunity to celebrate our diversity and our commitment to democracy, equality and mutual respect and to appreciate the contributions of the various multicultural groups and communities to Canadian society” (see the Government of Canada’s “Celebrate Canada” webpage).

This national objective is consistent with the Church’s teachings that every person is a child of God and of equal importance and value. In recognition of that belief, Latter-day Saints refer to each other as brothers and sisters.

“We are very blessed in Toronto that the world comes to us,” said Bishop Tom Pallin, senior clergy of the Etobicoke congregation. “According to the Huron interpretation, Toronto means ‘a gathering of tribes, or meeting place.’ Never has that been more true than now. Our members come from all continents and bring with them new ideas, traditions, disciplines and a deep faith. We are so grateful for them and open our arms to all.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints functions in large measure because of the unpaid volunteer ministry of its members. In local congregations or “wards” around the world, members voluntarily participate in “callings” or assignments that provide meaningful opportunities to serve each other and their communities.

“Many of the women and men that [make up] our ward leadership council are immigrants,” explains Zeny Jensen, president of the Church’s local women’s organization, the Relief Society — herself an immigrant from the Philippines. “It’s very difficult to leave our family and home country to come to Canada, but we find extended family here. I really feel rich because I have brothers and sisters from different nationalities that emulate Christ’s example.”

“The Lord Jesus Christ taught us to love our neighbour [Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31],” added Bishop Pallin. “He also taught that the meaning of ‘neighbour’ includes all of God’s children, in all places, at all times. In Etobicoke Ward, we try to emulate the Saviour’s teaching in the way we embrace and love each other.”

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.