By Reverend Michelle
Singh, Interfaith Minister, November 2011
Photos by Reverend
Terry Weller, Interfaith Minister
LEFT: Amina Berketa lights a candle to open the
Celebration while Michelle Singh, Celebration
Organizer and M.C., looks on.
Leslie with his wife and family in the front row
(middle) with friends from the Toronto interfaith
community. L-R Marco Mascarin of Institute of
Traditional Medicine; Marat, Sufi Master; Fr.
Terry Gallagher of Scarboro Missions; and Chander
President of the Hindu Institute of Learning.
Publisher of Interfaith Unity News, with Terry
Weller (R), Publisher and Editor of Interfaith
Unity News. PHOTO: Andrea Weller
sure to read the News Story of Leslie
OF THE TORCH OF THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTSIn
this issue CLICK HERE
October 23rd, 2011, members of
’s diverse faith communities gathered together at the
Multi-Faith Centre at the
to honour Leslie Gabriel Mezei for his 25+ years of
contribution to the Interfaith movement in
and beyond. The occasion was also meant to celebrate
Leslie’s 80th birthday July 9.
themes in Leslie’s life have been unity
which was reflected by the presence of his family; as
well as friends from the Sufi, Catholic, Buddhist,
Hindu, Baha’i, Muslim and Interfaith traditions.
spoke eloquently about the difference Leslie’s made
for them personally and for their community at large. In
his “refirement”, not “retirement”, Leslie
continues to make a difference with far reaching impact
while writing his memoirs.
many of you know, Leslie is the Founding
Publisher of Interfaith Unity. He continues as of
primary supports for current Interfaith Unity publisher
many accomplishments include being awarded the Golden Heart by the Sufi Order International and being named the
first Golden Rule
Ambassador by Scarboro Missions. He also received a Peace
Medal from the Interfaith Peace-building Initiative
of Ethiopia and is a founding member of the Toronto
Area Interfaith Council.
Recently, Leslie was also honoured by the Institute of
Traditional Medicine with the Interfaith
Leadership Award for outstanding dedication and
commitment to the higher principles of Cooperation,
Education and Dialogue amongst Faith Traditions.
Marco Mascarin of Institute of
Traditional Medicine Presenting Leslie Mezei with
Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
Feb. 9, 2012 @ 7:00pm
$15 suggested offering
553 Queen St. W.
2nd floor, Toronto, ON
register at: email@example.com The
Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche is
an internationally respected teacher of Tibetan
Buddhism. Born in 1948 in the Kham Province of Tibet,
Zasep Rinpoche was recognized by Kagyu, Sakya and Gelug
Lamas, as a highly realized teacher. He was enthroned as
the 13th Zasep Tulku Rinpoche at Zuru Monastery at the
age of five. After the Chinese army invaded
in 1959, he fled to
“Enter a field where you bathe in the
healing tones of harmonium and other sacred sounds
provided by voice and instrument. The room is candle lit
and the evening is created to be deeply nourishing and
to facilitate healing for all parts of our being. There
is no need to do anything, other than rest in the
ambient field of sound. This is music as medicine,
medicine as music.
Evening led by extraordinary musician and sound healer,
Gary Justice.” Gary (Empty Book) Justice is
music producer and workshop facilitator and a long time
student of meditation and yoga from Buddhist and
Himalayan yoga traditions. Currently
runs REVsound Recording Studio and is a student of
Shambhala Buddhism and Classical Indian Kathak Dance. www.revsound.ca
“It takes a little while to open fully so
please be patient.
We are pleased to invite you to our first program
of 2012 entitled"I have A Dream" - Visionaries,
Dreamers & Prophets an afternoon in honour of the
birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr., dreamt, that all people
would someday be sisters and brothers in a world
governed by equality, justice, and peace. In that
spirit, we invite you to join us for this special
afternoon featuring inspiring stories from our faith
traditions, and a presentation by Reverend Ruth Noble on
Martin Luther King, Jr.”
21 January, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm and 6:30 – 9:00 pm
Dances of Universal Peace
you to an
Aramaic Lord’s Prayer workshop
letter of application containing your name, address,
telephone and e-mail to Qahira Jo Oppenheimer, 115
Simpson Avenue, Toronto, ON M4K 1A1, or leave it at the
MCC Toronto Information Centre, with a cheque for $40*
60) payable to MCCToronto. Work scholarships are
available. For further information e-mail: DUP@MCCToronto.com.
sounds of the Aramaic language, which Jesus spoke, are
rich with ways of knowing the atmosphere within
which 1st century men and women—saints, sinners, rich
and poor, from all walks of life—were welcomed at the
table. The healing ways of Jesus' words are
systematically unveiled in the work of Saadi Neil
Douglas‑Klotz as he opens the door to these
teachings anew, with beauty and renewed hospitality.
This is truly the Good News!
Joanne Murray will be coming to
to lead this workshop. The beauty and profound message
of the prayer drew her to the Dances of Universal Peace.
She has been leading the Dances in eastern
for 18 years.
workshop cost includes a vegetarian lunch. The book,
Prayers of the Cosmos, by Saadi Neil
Douglas‑Klotz, will be available for purchase at
39 Prince Arthur Ave
Bloor St W
& Avenue Rd
guest: The Very Rev. Lois M. Wilson, CC, retired Senator
and first female moderator of the United Church of
role should religion play in formulating public policy
in a secular state?
Very Rev. the Hon. Lois M Wilson CC is an ordained
minister of the United Church of Canada (1965) and its
first female Moderator (1980-82). She was elected
President of both the Canadian (1976-79) and World
Council of Churches (1983-1991). She has had extensive
experience with the voluntary sector and the ecumenical
community on social and theological issues, on human
rights, inter-faith and women's issues at all levels of
church and government. Join us for an evening of
thought-provoking conversation on theological topics!
Munchies provided, cash bar available - come and bring a
November, the British Columbia Supreme Court upheld the
constitutionality of the Criminal Code's prohibition of
polygamy. Please join us for this panel discussion
analyzing polygamy in
from social, legal, and Islamic perspectives, in light
of the BC decision.
Hogben:Executive Director, Canadian Council of Muslim Women
Location: Auditorium, Noor Cultural Centre Admission:
of Dishonourtells the story of Mena - a young woman
who is soon to be married - and the arrival of a
Canadian film crew into her life. Act
of Dishonour is a National Film Board movie,
directed by award-winning Afghan-Canadian director,
actress, journalist and author, Nelofer
Film screening: 3:00 - 4:30 pm
Discussion with Nelofer Pazira & others: 4:30 - 5:30
Don Heights Unitarian Congregation,
18 Wynford Drive, Suite 102
first Spiritual Dialogue Circle of 2012 will be on
Monday, January 2nd. This month’s theme is
“Compassion”, facilitated by Ellen Jamal from Don
Heights Unitarian Congregation. Contact:
Reverend Michelle Singh, Interfaith Minister,
“This multi-faith Spiritual Dialogue Circle is
committed to bringing diverse people together for
conversation, prayer, sacred music and meditation. In
this Circle, participants are invited to share readings
and experience from their own spiritual traditions. We
encourage everyone to share their personal inner wisdom
connecting spiritual practice and everyday life.
Ultimately, our goal is to foster peace within ourselves
and our world. This is a safe and open community in
which everyone is welcome to explore, grow and be
Where:First Metropolitan United Church,
932 Balmoral Rd.
Cost:$295 full conference; early bird (before Nov. 30)
Borg/Rohrbaugh $25/session; 5 sessions for $99For more
information, or to register, visit the event website
“Celebrate with us the 10th anniversary of the Epiphany Explorations
conference, an annual opportunity for learning,
spiritual nurture and renewal, connecting with new and
old friends, song and laughter! We are joined by Marcus
Borg and Herbert O’Driscoll, two of our presenters
from our first conference in 2003, Martin Brokenleg,
May, Member of Parliament and Leader of the Green Party,
Mary Jo Leddy, Richard Rohrbaugh, and many other
February 4, 2012 – Workshop at Children the
Heart of the Matter Conference
The Surrey Neighbouring
Faiths Program will be presenting a workshop to early
childhood educators at the “Children the Heart of the
Matter” conference in
. Visit the website
for more information and to register.
May 10-11, 2012 – Workshop at 2012 “Cities
Fit for Children” Provincial
The 3rd Annual Cities
Fit for Children Provincial Summit is dedicated to
the sustainable development of our cities and urban and
rural areas. The event will bring together local,
municipal and regional leaders involved in policy
decisions and designing and building healthy safe
communities for children and families. Come and hear how
multifaith networks can play an important role in this
International Symposia for Contemplative Studies will
bring together academics and other interested attendees
for presentation, discussion, and collaborative
networking in the emerging field of contemplative
studies, which includes contemplative basic science,
contemplative clinical science, contemplative philosophy
and humanities, contemplative education, and those
domains of contemplative practice that relate to and
interact with these fields of research and
periodic NAINews Online/Print Summaries will continue,
the NAINews blog is more up-to-date. Don’t miss out on
NAINews. Be sure to subscribe at http://nainblog.wordpress.com/
Fall 2011 Online/Print Edition of NAINews was just
placed online. It contains a “Save the Date” for
Connect 2012 in
, two more Young Adult Reflections on Connect 2011, news
of NAIN Board members and Member Orgs, book reviews, and
Bridges of Interfaith Understanding, Cooperation and
New Post on NAINews
Restoring Dignity, an intitiative of Religions for Peace
Restoring Dignity is a global initiative engaged by
Religions for Peace to introduce the issue of violence
against women as a fundamental challenge of peace
making. Religions for Peace launched the Restoring
Dignity Initiative to introduce the issues of violence
against women as a fundamental challenge of peace
making. Why? The world’s major faith traditions –
each in its [...]
SPIRITUALITY, AND TRANSFORMATIVE LEADERSHIP: WHERE GRACE
Kathe Schaaf, Kay Lindahl, Kathleen
Publication Date: November 18, 2011
world is in crisis and it seems that many are looking to
women to heal the planet and our human family. Before
women can step into our full potential as leaders and
guides in this moment, we must individually reconnect with
our deepest wisdom and with our spiritual roots;
collectively heal the many dimensions of separation that
keep us fragmented and ineffective as agents of social
change; and globally reclaim our rightful place as
spiritual leaders in service of a balanced and
compassionate new paradigm.
This empowering resource engages women in an interactive
exploration of the challenges and opportunities on the
frontier of women's spiritual leadership. Through the
voices of North American women representing a matrix of
diversity--ethnically, spiritually, religiously,
generationally and geographically--this book will inspire
women to new expressions of their own personal leadership
and invite them into powerful collaborative
* How do our spiritual values inform us about living with
the challenges and blessings of diversity?
* How do we stand for the greatness of each other?
* How do we catalyze our collective transformational power
as women of spirit and faith?
this ground-breaking book, the authors outline both the spirit
and the structures that make up the peacemaking Circle process
as it is used in communities, schools, correctional settings,
and in healing many other kinds of harms. Though the book
relates the process to criminal justice, the explanation of
Circle philosophy and practice can be readily applied to hurts
and conflicts in other areas of life. Above all, the book offers
a grounded vision for how we can be together "in a good
way," especially when it seems hardest to do.http://www.livingjusticepress.org/
our annual year-end special, we discuss the major
religion and ethics stories of the past year in the
and abroad with Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne,
Religion News Service editor Kevin Eckstrom and Religion
& Ethics NewsWeekly managing editor Kim Lawton.
Pedro Guevara Mann speaks with Rabbi Baruch
Frydman-Kohl, Senior Rabbi of Beth Tzedec Congregation,
Rev. Dr. Karen A. Hamilton, General Secretary of the
Canadian Council of Churches and Rev. Damian MacPherson,
SA, director of the Office of the Ecumenical and
Interfaith Affairs of the Archdiocese of Toronto, about
the challenges and opportunities of interfaith
live coverage of Assisi and officials at the Vatican
talk global reform
What would the world be like if every
person on the planet lived according to the Golden
Dear interfaith allies:
this newly-published art exercise and lesson plan, young
people are invited to envision a world in which every
person lives according to the golden rule. Next, they
are asked to depict what they have imagined or
envisioned by creating a piece of art.
character education is engendered in young people
using the methods of play, fun, creativity and the arts.
at Scarboro Missions have found this exercise to be very
helpful in supporting young people to imagine and create
a world characterized by cooperation, social justice,
non-violence and a sustainable physical environment.
exercise can easily be adapted to address the Green
Rule: What would the world be like if every person on
the planet made a special effort to protect
and care for the environment? For more information
on this greening exercise, see the art exercise/lesson
appropriate, please forward to educators, youth workers
and interfaith leaders in your network of colleagues.
Please feel free to post a link to your website.
exercise is also available in Word -- this format makes
for a much cleaner and crisper print copy when dowloaded.
For your convenience, the lesson plan is also available
in pdf format.
to both schools and youth groups, this exercise can be
viewed or downloaded free of charge by clicking this
The Multifaith Action Society
is pleased to present the new 2012 MultifaithCalendar
- Heart and Soul, available directly through MAS as well
as through our distributors across north America.
in both printed and electronic versions, the MFC is the
leading source of complete and accurate dates, times,
and descriptions for 370 + observances and events
(including over 180 religious and cultural occasions
from 14 world religions).
Rev. Leslie Mezei has been conducting Festival of Lights
Ceremonies for 14 years at various venues around
. For the last several years it has been at the
Leslie Mezei performing a portion of the Festival of
Lights celebration in 2008 at ITM. To his right is Amina
PHOTO: Terry Weller
Medicine (ITM) in
. The 2011 Festival on October 16 at ITM was to be the last he
afternoon he began the ceremony by turning over the reigns to
Amina Berketa. Amina then formally opened the meeting with
greetings, Invocation, Lighting of Candles, and the Prayer Saum.
afternoon continued to unfold with a series of prayerful and
enlightening presentations by individuals of diverse faiths:
Hindu Chander Khanna recited
three verses (Mantras) from the
ancient Vedas addressing the Unity in all Creation where all is
part of the Unbroken Whole; followed
by Hindu Arti: Gaurav, Saurabh
and their sister Sveta assisted by their Grandmother Mrs. Sudesh
Sharma from the Vedic Centre.
Bryan Pietersma then presented Tibetan Buddhist Chanting.
And this was followed by
Jehan Bagli presenting from the Zoroastrianism faith.
particularly touching part of the afternoon was
Leslie’s granddaughter 9 year old Diane Mezei presenting on
behalf of Baha’i. Diane sang "One Candle", and
lighting one candle for all.
Jerome then gave a hands on talk about Judaism.
was beautifully presented by Father Terry Gallagher. This was
followed by Garo Altinian speaking about Islam.
afternoon began to wrap up with Salat (Prayers) by Kerri
truth reading and Chanting Inayat Khan's Zikr with Habib Fred
a Sermon by Amina Berketa. Closing was through Prayer Khatum and
group of Canadian Baha’i rappers from
; The Drapper Rappers have won the musical category and are
the overall winners globally of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s film competition,
Faith Shorts. Their rap video
“Be the Change You Want to See” encourages people of all
faiths to work together to take action in a positive way and was
inspired by the riots in
earlierthis year. The
video is an internet sensation with over 10,000 hits on YouTube
(and this is before they have been announced as winners)
year old Nadim Merrikhtravelled
on Monday the 5th of December. He hadhis film premiered in front of prestigious judges and VIPs
at the awards ceremony at the prestigious
of Film and Television Arts in
the following evening.
were judged by an impressive line up of judges including:
stars Hugh Jackman and Jet Li, Bollywood star Anil Kapoor and
former FOX studios President Sherry Lansing.”
Says Pluralism Doesn't Contradict
Joint Search for Truth
CITY, DEC. 15, 2011 (Zenit.org).-
In an address to 11 new ambassadors to the Holy See, Benedict XVI today
said that the interdependence of the human family, brought about
by modern technology, is not a threat, but an opportunity. …
our time the unity of the human family is an undeniable
fact," he remarked. "Thanks to the communications media
that bring all regions of the planet together, transport which
facilitates human contacts, commercial ties which make economies
interdependent, and problems of global importance such as
environmental protection and mass migration, human beings have
become more aware of their shared destiny. ... Mankind must see
this interdependency not as a threat but as an opportunity. We are
all responsible for one another, therefore it is important to
maintain a positive vision of solidarity because it is the driving
force of integral human development."…
responsibility" for the good of humankind is not opposed to
cultural and religious diversity, the Holy Father went on.
"The pluralism of cultures and religions does not contradict
the joint search for truth, goodness and beauty. ...
November 2011 ENInews Staff; Ecumenical
News International (ENI), Picture from ARC
Representatives from 15 faith traditions gathered at the Sacred
Land Celebration in
from 31 October to 2 November for the launch of the Green
Pilgrimage Network, organized by the Alliance of Religions and
Conservation (ARC) in association with the World Wildlife Fund
The delegates hope to implement initiatives such as a car ban on
pilgrimage routes in
, solar panels for a cathedral roof in the
, provisions of fresh water for pilgrims in
, and the planting of thousands of trees around sacred sites in
, according to a news release from ARC.
"Cities from China to Norway and faiths from all around the
world today commit to making one of the most powerful religious
experiences – pilgrimage -- a living witness to a commitment to
protect our living planet," said ARC secretary general Martin
Palmer in the release. [Read
By Chris Miller The B.C. Catholic, Thursday, 15 December 2011
EDMONTON (CCN)--Representatives of the three faiths that trace their
roots to Abraham came together at
City Hall Dec. 11 as part of their local effort to foster interfaith
harmony and cooperation.
Masood Peracha, co-chair of the Phoenix Multi-Faith Society for Harmony,
said the organization was established five years ago to build a
greater understanding among all faiths.
They wanted to ensure that the same hatred and religious indifference
seen in the rest of the world would not prevail in
too, Peracha said.
“It’s important for us to gather together, to learn together,
understand each other, and respect each other because by learning we
can dispel fear,” said Rabbi David Kunin, president of the
Edmonton Interfaith Centre. “Once we learn that we have a lot more
in common, we have many more reasons to celebrate together than to
hate each other."[Read
LEADERS UNITED IN DURBAN
CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION CALL
in ekklesia.co.uk by agency reporter 3 Dec 2011
leaders have called on decision-makers at the UN climate
, to act in the interest
of humanity and reach an agreement on cutting global
greenhouse gas emissions.
negotiations on legally binding carbon emission cuts yet
to make real progress and nations unable to agree on a
financial package to help poor countries adapt to the
effects of climate change faith leaders have demanded
the Interfaith Declaration on Climate Change, peace
activist Ela Gandhi quoted her grandfather, Mahatma,
when she urged delegates to "be the change you want
to see in the world."
said those in power needed to make decisions which
helped conserve the planet for future generations.
Wilfrid Napier, Roman Catholic Archbishop of
, added that the world's political leaders were in
danger of failing humanity.
express our displeasure with local and international
political leadership which has failed to take decisive
steps to make the changes required for the survival of
humanity and life on earth," he said.
interfaith declaration calls on governments to act now
before global warming does irreparable harm to the
earth. It states: 'We call upon our leaders, those of
our faiths, and all people of Earth to accept the
reality of the common danger we face, the imperative and
responsibility for immediate and decisive action, and
the opportunity to change.'
all the old aside to make room for the new. How can you
expect to usher in the new if you insist on holding onto
the old. Make room, make room, and have a good spring
clean from time to time and see what there is you can
cast forth of the old and never be tempted to hold on to
anything which is not of the very highest. This needs to
be done with thoughts and ideas as well as material
possessions. Don't just throw out the rubbish, but also
those things which clutter up the mind and stop it from
expanding. Take time to go through your material
possessions as well and sift and sort what you have and
cast out anything which you do not use. It is right to
have all that you need, but again let me remind you not
to hoard. It is far too easy to accumulate and then
wonder why you feel burdened and bowed down and can't
move forward and upward.
of a spiritual community at