During the United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week in February, Baha’is in British Columbia worked with other faith groups to celebrate the value of religion and spirituality in society.
Baha’is in Surrey collaborated with the local interfaith council to create a virtual commemoration program. The week-long series of events started with a land acknowledgement video by Benny George, a young Baha’i from Cowichan, now residing in Vancouver. “Benny initiates cultural ceremonies of his people, is a big house dancer, young father of three, and he finds his joy in expressing his culture,” shared Deloria Bighorn, a member of the Cowichan Baha’i Community.
“The welcome to the land is not restricted just to elders, but it is important to remember that we have to give young people the opportunity to develop the capacity. When deciding who would do the land acknowledgement, we thought of Benny as he had been training when he was in the Cowichan community and he knows how to sing and pray,” Ms. Bighorn added.
This video opened the Sacred Spaces Virtual Tour of many faith communities in the Vancouver lower mainland. Normally, the group would walk from one sacred place to another, having a chance to learn the teachings from members of each faith community. This year, the visits took place virtually.
The Baha’i community of Surrey contributed a brief video produced by a local family, which starts with a play done by two young girls. In the play, a grandmother talks to her grandchild about the Baha’i Faith and its precepts, and it ends with the whole family singing a Baha’i prayer. One major organizer of this event commented that their video was very refreshing for its simplicity and sweetness.
On another day of the Interfaith Harmony Week, Baha’is from White Rock and Surrey presented an interactive slideshow on the concept of unity. “There should be another conversation like this and more people could be invited ‘into the circle of unity’,” one participant commented.
An Interfaith Music and Spoken Word Concert was also part of the program. There were two submissions from the Baha’i Community of the Vancouver area: ”Radiant Heart” from Shidan and Shadi Toloui-Wallace and “Garden” by Alicia and Noreen Woods.