Mormon Young Adults Participate in Interfaith Millennial Summit

Mormon Young Adults Participate in Interfaith Millennial Summit

News Story

From across the nation, 75 young leaders of various faiths recently convened in the country’s capital for the Faith in Canada 150 Millennial Summit, hosted by Cardus (a Christian think-tank) and sponsored by several faith-based organizations, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Summit participants engaged in discussions focused on key challenges millennials face while living their faith. These challenges include preserving religious freedom, expressing one’s faith in public spaces and moving toward a more pluralistic society in which people of diverse religious backgrounds work together as one community in friendship and faith.

Dr. Andrew Bennett — Canada’s ambassador for religious freedom from 2013 to 2016 and chair of the Cabinet of Canadians for Faith in Canada 150 — opened the summit by stating that it would be a safe place for honest and authentic dialogue and encouraged the delegates to seek out conversations with one another. Those conversations became one of the highlights of the summit for many participants.

 

Three members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints attended the summit: Nathanaël Ladron de Guevara from Montreal, Quebec; Tyler Williamson from Calgary, Alberta; and Zachary Hicks from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Hicks summarized his experience saying, “This summit was one of the most enriching experiences of my life. I experienced genuine demonstrations and expressions of faith that have enriched my soul in ways that were unexpected to me.”

Williamson noted the significant opportunity to ask questions of his fellow delegates: “I learned so many things about the faith of those whom I met through asking questions. It was so much more meaningful to connect with another person on a deep level as we discussed the similarities of our faiths.”

Williamson further stated, “I was struck by the richness of the experience that comes from the diversity of beliefs and opinions. Recognizing and embracing that diversity adds colour and beauty to our society that would be sadly lost if we do not recognize the importance of religion in the Canadian public square.”

Commenting on the value of the summit organizers’ invitation to be more open regarding faith in public spaces, Ladron de Guevara stated, “I learned that we all have faith in God and that people of different religions look at me not as a person of a different religion but as a person of faith. We want to work together to build a more inclusive society.”

Reflecting on the summit, Hicks further stated, “The experiences I had with so many participants, in conversations and in the session interactions, all testified to me that we have a loving Heavenly Father who rewards all who diligently seek Him. His love, grace and patience extend toward all His children.”

Eurah Park, a member of the Church from Toronto, Ontario, attended the Faith in Canada 150 gala following the conclusion of the summit. She stated, “It was a wonderful evening of collective faith, unity and love, as believers shared their bright hopes for Canada. I do not feel the world always welcomes conversations of faith and belief in public spaces. Yet to many of us, our faith and beliefs [make up] a key, important part of our lives. It is important to have safe, public places where such discussions of faith can be shared to lead to increased collaboration and understanding.”

Elder G. Lawrence Spackman — an Area Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Calgary, Alberta, and a member of Cardus’s Cabinet of Canadians for Faith in Canada 150 — visited with millennials at the gala. He stated, This millennial generation will play a critical role in maintaining a society based on faith in God and preserving our rights of religious freedom. Participating in this gala gives me great confidence that these young men and women are becoming well prepared to take on the challenges that lie before them.”

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