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

Vernon pottery show supports NOYFSS program

April Sheehan’s show and sale is Nov. 17

Jazz trumpeter takes Vernon Jazz Club stage

Mike Field will perform Nov. 17

Three structures burn in Spallumcheen

Three structures on the property were engulfed in flames upon officer’s arrival.

Vernon remembers: Remembrance Day ceremony sees crowd

Nov. 11, 2018 marks 100 years since the armistice was signed

Vernon RCMP investigating assault on taxi driver

RCMP were called to assist a taxi driver who had just been assaulted by a female passenger.

VIDEO: Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee dies

Marvel co-creator was well-known for making cameo appearances in superhero movies

VIDEO: Vernon Farmers’ Market bustles at rec centre

It may have moved indoors for the season but the Vernon Farmers’ Market was no less dynamic.

Acclaimed AC/DC tribute to rock Vernon nightclub

BC/DC will perform at Status Nightclub Nov. 30

Birch paintings fill Vernon gallery walls

Carol Simpson Taylor is Nadine’s Fine Art and Frames featured artist of the month

Calgarians head to the polls to declare ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ on Winter Games

The question “are you for or are you against hosting the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games?” was to be posed to them Tuesday in a plebiscite to help determine whether the city should move ahead with a bid.

Heir’s big birthday: 70 candles lined up for Prince Charles

Prince Charles turns 70 Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, still serving in the heir to the throne role he has filled since he was a young child.

Okanagan Screen Arts road trip drama delves into broken family

Boundaries screens at the Vernon Towne Cinema Nov. 19

Trudeau lays down challenge to companies in bid to boost trade with Asia

“Building the relationships, building the connections, building the facility and also changing mindsets — getting Canadian companies to see the opportunities we have around the world to partner and invest.”

Most Read