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The Interfaith Unity Newsletter is a free newsletter of Interfaith activities, news, and resources, in Toronto, Southern Ontario, and Internationally.

The Interfaith Unity Resource Centre


Mayor David Miller meets with the Toronto Area Interfaith Council

"Building Relationships in Unity and Diversity"

 Mayor David Miller met with faith community leaders from the Toronto Area Interfaith Council (TAIC) on Tuesday, March 20, 2007 at 8:00 am at the University of Toronto Conference Centre, 89 Chestnut Street.

 The aim of this first breakfast meeting was to initiate a dialogue among leaders of city government and of faith communities to create a foundation for understanding, co-operation and partnership between the City of Toronto and the Faith Communities in the Toronto area.  Mayor Miller welcomed this initiative and, with the TAIC, sees this dialogue as the first step of many we can take together.

 Over 190 representatives from more than 40 faith communities and 15 interfaith organizations attended. In addition to Mayor Miller, some Councillors and city staff dealing with outreach and diversity were present. Among those attending the meeting was: Archbishop Thomas Collins, Bishop Colin R. Johnson, Archbishop Sotirios, Very Rev. Lois Wilson, Imam Hamid Slimi, Pandit Roopnauth Sharma and Ven. Man Yee Fa Shi. 

 The event was opened by Fr. Damian MacPherson, Director for Ecumenical and Interfaith Affairs, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto. Fr. MacPherson has been a part of the TAIC planning committee since its inception. In his address he called the event, “An historic occasion.” And he noted that, “The interfaith co-operation and activity in the Toronto area has taken another leap forward.”

 The history of the Toronto Area Interfaith Council was detailed by Liz Chappel, chairperson of the B’ahai Faith in Toronto.  Liz stated, "It is the aim of the Toronto Interfaith Council to be intentional in its service to community and to further our common aspiration to promote peace, understanding, harmony and respect for all.

 In late 2004, the founding members of the Toronto Area Interfaith Council recognized that faith communities could assist the city in building bridges to overcome prejudice and discrimination and to promote mutual understanding and respect.  The group established a vision statement and set mutually agreeable goals over the next two years, ranging from initiating and facilitating interfaith celebratory and commemorative observances, to providing information about religious practices, and finding ways and means to connect the commonalities of diverse faiths. Its members now look forward to working with the City of Toronto to ensure that our diverse city remains a leader in the world in harmonious collaboration of its diverse citizens and organizations.

Mayor Miller addressed the group with a message of support for their collective efforts in establishing this interfaith council. He also applauded them for the work they have done separately and collectively for the city of Toronto on an ongoing basis. Mayor Miller confirmed the vision of the Toronto Area Interfaith Council by saying, “I am very proud to have the opportunity to be here and to support the Interfaith Council. It is something that Toronto can contribute to the world like no other can… Interfaith dialogue and shared activities build bridges and promote mutual understanding, good community relations, tolerance and acceptance. This breakfast crosses all divides and allows us to discover the connections that are common between all people and their fundamental right to practice their religion with dignity and respect.” He looked forward to positive impact the co-operative effort of all faith groups could have on the social issues and needs of the people of Toronto.


The Mayor unveiled a plaque with the TAIC Mission Statement:

 “The Toronto Area Interfaith Council is dedicated to affirming the importance of ethics, spirituality and faith in daily life and to the promotion of understanding, harmony, respect and acceptance among the faith communities of the Toronto area.”

 Mayor Miller was also presented with the popular Golden Rule Poster which was designed in Toronto.  The poster with its universal statement of moral conduct from 13 faith traditions can be found around the world. It fits well with Toronto’s motto: “Diversity – Our Strength”.



Mayor Miller also presented the The Toronto Area Interfaith Council with a plaque bearing the following words:

“A Message from the Mayor

It is my pleasure to extend greetings and a warm welcome to everyone attending this special Toronto Area Interfaith Council breakfast.

 Places of worship are God’s spiritual arm and the thread that holds the fabric of society and of the family together. Today more than ever we are witnessing the revival of religion in the lives of many who seek guidance and strength in the solace and comfort that come from their faith.

 Interfaith dialogue and shared activities build bridges and promote mutual understanding, good community relations, tolerance and acceptance. This breakfast crosses all divides and allows us to discover the connections that are common between all people and their fundamental right to practice their religion with dignity and respect.

 On behalf of Toronto City Council, thank you for sharing your ecumenical spirit and fellowship. Best wishes for an uplifting and inspiring morning.

 Mayor David Miller 

March 20, 2007”

 Councillor Joe Mihevc spoke to the audience concerning City of Toronto Initiatives. He noted that the collective voice of the faith communities could be a major factor in assisting in the resolution of social needs. He went on to say: "Big cities is where diversity can and does happen, but on this scale and this depth, never before. And it happened in Toronto....We know that beyond the historical and current conflicts, there is something very deep within us that yearns to know the other....What I'd like to propose is a way to do interfaith work that is also city-building work."

 The event concluded with a sharing time between participants. During this period they collectively assembled their own person visions and comments concerning the new Toronto Area Interfaith Council. These were recorded at each table and the results were submitted to the Council.



For further information, contact:

Rev. Leslie Gabriel Mezei   Secretary, TAIC  

Phone: 416-226-2869    Cell: 416-689-9872      leslie@barberry.ca

Fr. Damian MacPherson  Convenor, TAIC 

Phone: 416-934-3400 E344   dmacpherson@archtoronto.org