When they think about it, most people would acknowledge that they live by some kind of belief system, whether or not they would call it faith or a religion.
The Inter-faith Bridging Project Inter-Faith Café wants to bring people from different backgrounds together to talk about ideas and experiences.
“I’m hoping we’ll get two groups of people, those who are religiously active and interested in learning more about other religions and in the process learn more about themselves, and people who are interested in religion,” said The Rev. Dr. William (Bill) Harrison, the keynote speaker for the Inter-Faith Café on Sunday.
He said the challenge is that many people don’t have much education or information about religion. He has found that people, especially younger people, are open to learning about religion on the Internet and this leads to increased understanding.
Harrison is principal for the Kootenay School of Ministry, Anglican Diocese of Kootenay. He was a seminary professor in Saskatoon for five years and is the author of Frequently-Asked Questions in Christian Theology, Introduction for Christian Theology for Lay People, and has a book on world religions in process.
He will speak on inter-faith conversation and then ask participants to discuss some questions in groups.
“The key religious questions are also human questions. At the root, we are always asking, what is the meaning of life? Why are we here? What should we do? This includes the use of our money and other resources, our relationship to the planet and to countries that have strong religious views that are different from our own. Religions are, among other things, answers to life’s questions,” said Harrison.
“Everyone believes in something. Everyone has a basic opinion about what life is all about that determines priorities and helps decision-making. All people have someone or something they respect so deeply that the rest of life’s decisions are affected by that respect. That thing may be respect for other people or the environment, or it may be money or power, or it may indeed be a transcendent power. Our religions are defined by what that someone or something is.”
Harrison said one of the questions he will be asking participants to talk about is what they see in their tradition that they don’t see in others, and the things they see in other traditions that they don’t see in their own.
“Religious traditions should be mutually enlightening,” he said.
The Rev. Canon Chris Harwood-Jones of All Saints Anglican Church said this is a good opportunity to hear Harrison.
“He is a scholar of international importance and we’re lucky to have him speak at this event.”
The Inter-Faith Café is sponsored by the Inter-faith Bridging Project by Vernon and District Immigrant Services Society with funding by Embrace B.C.
The Inter-faith Bridging Project Inter-Faith Café takes place Sunday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at St. James Catholic School gym. This is an afternoon of friendship, sharing and dialogue. Coffee, tea and ethnic refreshments will be served.