Patricia Cardenas and her son Keoni

Patricia Cardenas and her son Keoni

Helping to connect cultures

The Inter-Faith Connecting Project brings together people from all cultures and faith traditions for dialogue and celebration

The Inter-Faith Connecting Project is a continuation of last year’s Inter-Faith Bridging Project which brought together representatives from different faith communities for events like the Inter-Faith Café discussion groups, visits to sacred sites, an arts day and a fashion show.

“The project has enabled us to understand our faith communities better,” said Nola Dibski, coordinator of the project.

“This year, we have been focusing on life transitions and those traditions in the various faith communities. We have had more Inter-Faith Cafés, an Inter-Faith baby shower and a family picnic.

“This fall, we will focus on elders, death and dying, and wedding and marriage traditions, and conclude with a dramatic presentation in January.”

Patricia Cardenas, from Mexico and now living in Canada, was a member of the planning committee for the Inter-Faith Baby Shower held in April.

“I am enjoying meeting people from different countries, cultures and faiths. It’s one of the things I really love, to learn about traditions. When a child is born, there are so many different ways to celebrate,” she said. “I learned that it doesn’t matter where you are from, what kind of faith you have, what colour are your eyes, we are all the same humans and we can always get together and celebrate. This was the first time I learned about Ramadan from the Muslims. The different traditions are so interesting.”

There have been three Inter-Faith Café discussion groups, one at the Sikh Temple, another at the Japanese Cultural Centre and one during the National Aboriginal Day celebration.

“All the events have been very well- received and people are asking us if we will make them annual events,” said Dibski. “One child at the Family Picnic asked, ‘Can you do this every July?’”

The next event is a presentation by John Spotted Eagle on the importance of elders to First Nations, to be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at the Vernon and District Immigrant Services office.

On Oct. 5, there will be a presentation on death and dying from the Muslim perspective,  at the Vernon Mosque from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

There will be another Inter-Faith Café Oct. 27. in the afternoon, followed by a light supper by donation and evening panel discussion on death and dying, with leaders from local faith groups.

“We want people to come out and discover so many cultures that we have here in Vernon and get involved in the community. It’s fun and you will learn and meet new friends,” said Cardenas.

For more information about Inter-Faith Connecting Project events see www.interfaithvernon.org.