News Release

Latter-day Saints Join World Interfaith Harmony Week Celebrations

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Canada will join World Interfaith Harmony Week celebrations starting January 27. A variety of events will be held across the country, covering topics from addressing Islamophobia to how different faiths pray.

World Interfaith Harmony Week was first introduced in 2010 to strengthen interfaith bonds and promote harmony throughout the religious world. The United Nations General Assembly states that “mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace” and recognizes “the imperative need for dialogue among different faiths and religions to enhance mutual understanding, harmony and co-operation among people” (U.N. Observances/Interfaith Harmony Week).

Edmonton first adopted World Interfaith Harmony Week in 2021, as proclaimed by then-mayor Don Iveson. This year, the Edmonton Interfaith Centre for Education and Action will celebrate World Interfaith Harmony Week virtually. Community members of all faith traditions across Canada can join the events through links on the centre’s website.

Latter-day Saint representative and event organizer Eileen Bell has been involved with interfaith efforts in Edmonton for over a decade. She shared, “I love being able to learn more about other faiths. It helps me understand people better and makes me feel closer to them. I think that building bridges between groups of believers helps unite people wanting to achieve good purposes together.”

Bell has been instrumental in co-ordinating the “How Do Different Faiths Pray?” event. A virtual panel of members from different faiths — including Christianity, Islam, Eckankar and Zoroastrianism — will share their insights on how they pray.

Len Gierach, chair of the World Interfaith Harmony Week committee for the Edmonton Interfaith Centre for Education and Action, commented, “In times of ever greater polarization, these events help build safer and caring communities. Being curious about and understanding our neighbours’ faith perspectives or spirituality allows us to become better neighbours. Who doesn’t want great neighbours?”

World Interfaith Harmony Week events in Edmonton align with participation of other cities across Canada, including Calgary, Alberta; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Surrey, British Columbia.

As part of Calgary Interfaith Harmony Week events, members of the Fish Creek Alberta Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will participate in a "Pulpit Exchange" (see Additional Resources at bottom). They are partnering with South of Fish Creek Interfaith (composed of local Catholic, Lutheran, Mennonite and Muslim congregations) to sponsor a fireside in which Tony Snow, Indigenous minister at Hillhurst United Church of Canada, will speak on the theme of “Hope, Healing and Wholeness.”

Latter-day Saint Dalton Harding, secretary of the Calgary Interfaith Council, indicated that Calgary Interfaith Harmony Week events will be broadcast so they are available to all. Harding will participate by offering a prayer at the “Sharing Prayers for Healing, Wholeness and Hope” event on February 2.

In Halifax, Latter-day Saint Rick Cartier will be a panellist for a discussion on “Fashion and Clothing: Items of Spiritual Expression” sponsored by Interfaith Harmony Halifax. Other events in Halifax include panels on “Faith and the Environment: Stewardship of the Earth” and “Prayer, Meditation, Ritual.”

The Surrey Interfaith Council in British Columbia will also host several events, including “Stories of Faith,” “Virtual Sacred Spaces Tour,” and “Interfaith Music and Spoken Word.”

For additional information on World Interfaith Harmony Week events, see the following:

Calgary Interfaith Council

Edmonton Interfaith Centre for Education and Action

Interfaith Harmony Halifax

Surrey Interfaith Council

Contributed by Stephanie Schindler, Canada Communication Council

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