Nola Dibski

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

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

A vehicle was fully engulfed in flames before around 11:10 p.m. Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (Kerry Hutter - contributed)
VIDEO: Car burns near Kalamalka lookout

Vernon firefighters snuff late-night vehicle fire in Coldstream

Vernon GoByBike Week grand prize winner Aaron McVey and family enjoying the trails at Becker Park. The initiative to promote cycling and reduce greenhouse gas emissions ran from May 31 to June 6, 2021. (Contributed)
North Okanagan riders cover 24,000 km during GoByBike Week

Prizes have been awarded from the week-long initiative to encourage zero-emission transportation

The Okanagan Eatery owner Chelsea Enns brings with her years of front-of-house and management experience to Vernon’s newest restaurant. 
(Caitlin Clow - Morning Star)
Vernon’s newest restaurant serves up Okanagan eats

Trio brings passion for locally sourced dishes and smash burgers to the table

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to collect donations ahead of Kristy Handel’s 33-kilometre run for Chelaine McInroy (pictured) to cover costs for a new prosthetic leg after her June 12, 2021, surgery. (GoFundMe)
Friend running to raise funds for Armstrong woman’s new prosthetic leg

33-km Run for Chelaine to help athlete cover medical costs from latest surgery

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Fire near Highway 97 C close to Merritt. (Facebook)
Wildfire burning near Highway 97C

The fire is an estimated nine hectares in size

Athena and Venus, ready to ride. (Zoe Ducklow - Sooke News Mirror)
Goggling double-dog motorcycle sidecar brings smiles to B.C. commuters

Athena and Venus are all teeth and smiles from their Harley-Davidson sidecar

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
B.C. casino workers laid off during pandemic launch class-action lawsuit

Notice of civil claim filed in Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo against Great Canadian Gaming

A Photo from Sept. 2020, when First Nations and wild salmon advocates took to the streets in Campbell River to protest against open-pen fish farms in B.C.’s waters. On Dec. 17, federal fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan announced her decision to phase out 19 fish farms from Discovery Islands. Cermaq’s application to extend leases and transfer smolts was denied. (Marc Kitteringham/Campbell River Mirror)
Feds deny B.C.’s Discovery Island fish farm application to restock

Transfer of 1.5 million juvenile salmon, licence extension denied as farms phased out

Salmon Arm’s Brook Kosick competes in the barrel racing event at a BC High School Rodeo Association rodeo in Quesnel, which was held from June 11-13, 2021. (Cassidy Dankochik - Black Press)
VIDEO: Shuswap rodeo athlete barrels through competition

Salmon Arm rider Brook Kosick thrilled to compete in provincial finals

John Kromhoff with some of the many birthday cards he received from ‘pretty near every place in the world’ after the family of the Langley centenarian let it be known that he wasn’t expecting many cards for his 100th birthday. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Cards from all over the world flood in for B.C. man’s 100th birthday

An online invitation by his family produced a flood of cards to mark his 100th birthday

FILE – Nurse Iciar Bercian prepares a shot at a vaccine clinic for the homeless in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, June 2, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
B.C. scientists to study effectiveness of COVID vaccines in people with HIV

People living with HIV often require higher doses of other vaccines

Most Read