News Story

Cardston and Dartmouth Interdenominational Gatherings Bring Faiths Together

Reaching out to build bridges of co-operation was the objective of congregations across Canada recently. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Cardston, Alberta, and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, organized gatherings with their associates from other faiths to become better acquainted and to plan future interfaith events.

Cardston, Alberta

Larry and Connie Gibb, public affairs directors in Cardston, worked with associates from Cardston Baptist Church, Faith Lutheran Church, St. Andrew’s United Church and St. Theresa’s Mission Catholic Church to hold an interfaith dinner.

The event included entertainment and an opportunity for each faith group to share its basic beliefs, announce upcoming events and express mutual appreciation.

Those from St. Andrew’s United Church said they would never forget that their benches were donated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The St. Andrew’s members also mentioned that they set aside a portion of their meetings to pray for specific individuals. At the request of their members, they prayed for Tom Hall, a Latter-day Saint and neighbour to St. Andrew’s who has cancer.

“Being a Christian in a modern age requires a practical approach,” said Larry Gibbs. “It is important that we work with people of other faiths to continue co-operating and to attain shared goals.”

At the interfaith event, the Cardston Baptist Church members reported on their busy summer youth camps, which were held throughout southern Alberta. The St. Theresa’s Mission Catholic Church members described the smaller of their two church structures, a special venue where mass is held once a year to an overflowing crowd. The Faith Lutheran Church representatives reported they have moved to a different building that better meets their needs.

Brent Lybbert, president of the Cardston Alberta Stake, commended each faith group for the good work each does and for helping to shape the community over the years. The faith groups are committed to working together to organize Faith Harmony Week in February 2020 and to support each other’s churches and events.

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

David Evans, Dartmouth NS Stake PA Interfaith Specialist, worked with associates from the Atlantic School of Theology, Atlantic Jewish Council and Lutheran Church of the Resurrection to organize an interfaith summit, which was proposed by Roxanne Sperry, a third-year Atlantic School of Theology student and friend of Evans’.

Two professors from the Atlantic School of Theology presented keynote addresses. Additionally, a five-member panel discussed “Practical Approaches to Being a Christian in a Modern Age.”

Evans remarked, “Seeing the hand of the Lord touching things individually and seeing relationships improve and progress made is good in this age of division and helps us remember we can talk to one another.”

After the summit, all participants were invited into the foyer of the Halifax Nova Scotia Temple of the Church, where they could ask questions. Each was given a Church article about temples and copies of the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

The group now plans to organize a climate change discussion. Evans emphasized the importance of such a discussion: “We have been given a sacred responsibility—dominion to look after and care for what Heavenly Father has given us.”

The recent Cardston and Dartmouth interfaith gatherings are a small representation of many such efforts, which are important ways to strengthen all faiths, families and communities. Elder James E. Evanson, North America Central (Southern Alberta) Area Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, states, “Christ taught us to love one another, especially our neighbours. We live the second great commandment by showing respect, acceptance and commonality with our neighbours of other religious traditions. Much is gained by all parties, as we come together to rejoice in our shared beliefs of a Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ. Communities are strengthened, friendships are created and families are united in the common goal of improving the world we live in.”

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