By Acharya S.P.Dwivedi
The United Nation's General Assembly has made several important resolutions against discrimination based on race, gender, color and ethnic orientation; injustice, violence and terrorism to create and peaceful environment on earth. The October 2010 resolution set a new trend in promoting interfaith peace building by declaring the first week of the year to be celebrated as a World Interfaith Harmony Week. This provides a platform to all interfaith and faith organizations, institutions and groups to enhance dialogue, cooperation and interaction among themselves towards creating respect, understanding, love and harmony to each other faiths; and even people of without faith. Since then during the first week of February all around the world conferences, prayers, peace- walk, art-musical fair and celebrations are organized to develop harmony and sustainable world peace.
The Global Clergy Association of Canada (GCAOC), a URI Cooperation Circle, provided the leadership in Metro Vancouver in organizing the interfaith conferences since the 2011. This year the conference was jointly arranged by GCAOC (GCAOC) and North Wood United Church of Surrey on February 6, Multifaith Action Society also supported the event. The theme of the conference was-“Navigating Peace Through Faith.” Representatives of ten faiths presented their faith perspective on the theme.
Rev. William Thomas Sparks being the host offered the opening prayer and Dr. J. Das, president of GCAOC welcomed the guests. Acharya S.P.Dwivedi acted as MC and moderator of the conference. He invited the faith panelist alphabetically. Liv Anita Dahl (Baha'i) emphasized on friendship, respect and exploring each other faith; Lama Tse Wang ( Buddhism) said that traditions are different but goal is the same and that we should share experiences of faith; Rev. Scott Reynold (Christianity) focused on love for neighbor and teaching and healing; G.S.Singhai (Jainism) thought that non-violence is the only way to attain peace , and harmony; Rabbi David Mivasair (Judaism) felt that we should try to learn from others stories and experiences; Acharya Dwivedi (Hindu Bodhidharma) advocated for equality, oneness of all and practice of spirituality in establishing peace.
Dr. J. Das said , "We should ignore external labels and strengthen our inner consciousness to promote peace while Rev. Susan Kerr (Scientology) suggested, "Tolerance and respect needed for open faith dialogue." Sukh Johal (Sikh faith) told, "Peaceful interfaith cooperation is only possible through respect, openness and love for others" and Firdosh Mehta ( Zoroastrian) found that peace can be attained through- Right action, and meditation.
Rev. Sparks was honored with an Indian tradition - Pitaambar(Shawl) by Dr. Das and Acharya Dwivedi.
Rev. Will T. Sparks offered the closing peace prayer in which everyone joined him. The guests were entertained, at the end, with refreshment.