Nola Dibski

Nola Dibski: Opening Doors

Nola Dibski, coordinator for the Inter-Faith Bridging Project, Vernon and District Immigrant Services Society

  • Dec. 2, 2011 10:00 a.m.

Editor’s note: Following is the first in a series on the Inter-Faith Bridging Project, launched this fall by Vernon and District Immigrant Services Society.

With funding from Embrace BC, Vernon and District Immigrant Services Society (VDISS) launched the Inter-Faith Bridging Project in Vernon this September. This project was introduced in the Oct. 26 issue of The Morning Star in the article headlined “Project aims to develop friendships, dialogue.” In this article Maytée Ferrigno, from Immigrant Services, gives an overview of the project and explains how the project is about opening dialogue from one faith to another.

This project is also opening new doors, both literally and figuratively, as people from different faiths are working together.  As coordinator of the project, I had the privilege of opening one of the first doors.  I must confess I stood somewhat hesitantly at that first door. At the time, I couldn’t help but wonder what was I doing? Was I up to this? My greying hair clearly showed I was nearing three score and ten and my arthritic hands often made door opening difficult so you can imagine my delight when this first door at Immigrant Services opened easily. As I stepped through I met the Steering Committee for Vernon’s Inter-Faith Bridging Project for the first time. It was like stepping into a time warp.  People, who had been part of my life as far back as the mid-’70s, when we had English classes for new Canadians at Vernon’s First Baptist Church, were there to greet me. Carol, now the director of VDISS, was a long-ago teaching partner; Harpal, who had come to our classes as a new bride in 1978, was waiting expectantly; a granddaughter of one of my favourite people from Pakistan was in the group and Alan, a Global Education teacher, reminded me that his mother had been part of our early ESL teaching group. As well, the room was filled with people, from different faiths, different cultures and of different ages whom I had yet to meet. Maytée, who recently told her story to The Morning Star, was welcoming and greeting everyone. And I was to lead this group? Where to start?

As I began that first meeting, the energy in the room amazed me. People expressed their ideas and suggestions about the Inter-Faith Bridging project with great enthusiasm but never with rancor. Several times as I stood in front of this group and listened to their back-and-forth conversations, I’d wonder, who really is in charge here? Occasionally I’d get a word in, but the participants set the tone of the meeting. Throughout the meeting, more and more possible doors to open were explored and ways to open these doors discussed. Doors that opened into new understandings, dispelling myths, forging new friendships and relationships, fostering respectful conversations to bring peace and hope and new ways to help Vernon to become an even more welcoming community were priority doors. Opening this first door was unleashing untapped energy to tackle doors that too often are shut tight and appear impossible to open. Who would have dreamed all of this could be possible?

The steering committee is now leading this project and as they continue to open new doors, stories about real people and their faiths will be told and activities planned, which the community is invited to join. In January, there will be round table forums; in February, art workshops; and in March, a Spring Fair and Gala event. Specifics of these events will be advertised in the next few weeks. For more information, contact Maytée Ferrigno at 250-542-4612 or e-mail  eas@shaw.ca  or Nola Dibski at  ndbski@telus.net

Nola Dibski is coordinator of the Inter-Faith Bridging Project in Vernon.

 

Just Posted

Rain in forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap region

Mixed bag of clouds, sun and showers forecast for the week ahead

Vernon Vipers win fifth straight

Matt Kowalski scores in overtime as Snakes stop Trail Smoke Eaters 3-2 at Kal Tire Place

Vernon Lotto 649 ticket matches five of six numbers and bonus

Ticket in Saturday’s draw bought in Vernon and is worth nearly $32,000

PPC party discredits its former Kelowna-Lake Country president’s past accusations of racism

Daniel Joseph left the party in March and is now an independent candidate in the riding

Vipers get past Penticton Vees in overtime

After a slow start to the season the Vipers are now on a four-game win streak

B.C. VIEWS: How to get the best deal on your ICBC car insurance

ICBC slowly being dragged into the 21st century

Pot legalization has gone ‘well’, but ‘yellow flags’ on vaping: task force chair

Canada legalized cannabis for non-medical use on Oct. 17, 2018,

ELECTION 2019: Federal leaders hit final 24 hours of campaign

Many leaders remain in B.C. for the final hours of the campaign

Summerland once had college campus

From 1906 to 1915, Summerland’s Okanagan College operated in the community

Hundreds turn out for Singh, NDP candidate rally in Penticton

The messaging was clear, NDP “chooses you”

Summerland holds multiple events to launch festive season

Festival of Lights, Light Up the Vines and Sip ’n’ Shop will be held in late November and December

PET OF THE WEEK: Moose still needs a home

Critteraid cat wants a nice, quiet environment

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Most Read