Members of the Surrey Interfaith Council and friends joined together in an evening of music and the spoken word at the Surrey British Columbia Stake Centre of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on February 4, 2017. The evening featured performances by individuals and groups from different ethnic and religious backgrounds, all celebrating the United Nations’ World Interfaith Harmony Week.
Following recent demonstrations of intolerance and violence against religious minorities around the world, this event displayed love, acceptance and harmony among people of differing faith traditions. For members of the Church, the principle of religious freedom is a key tenet of their faith, and supporting events such as this is one way to express support for other faiths. Likewise, there are many people besides Mormons who feel strongly about supporting and defending the faith traditions of all people.
- Rabbi Laura Kaplan
- Trinity Lutheran Choir
- Dr. Jagessar Das - Hindi
- Usman Malik - Islam
- Surrey 2nd Ward Spanish Choir
- Connie Waterman - Bahai
- Bishop Jonas Prasad - LDS
- LDS Childrens Choir
- LDS Male Quartet
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Rabbi Laura Kaplan, who performed in the program, stated, “Music is a universal language that speaks straight to the heart and moves us to a place beyond the dogmas and theological discussions, helping all present feel the Spirit of God together.”
In considering ways the Surrey Interfaith Council could celebrate World Interfaith Harmony Week, a member of the council, Sherry Marceil, suggested that the Church host an evening of music from different faith traditions along with recitations from different holy books. The council liked the idea and has proposed that it now become an annual event.
Sukhvinder Kaur Vinning led participants in a Sikh chant that filled the auditorium. Following the event, Vinning stated, “When we hear the sacred music of other faith traditions, whether we speak the language or not, we can all feel the spirit of what is being shared in our hearts.”
Ecclesiastical leaders from varying faiths were present, including Travis Wolsey, stake president of the Surrey British Columbia Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When asked about his thoughts on the evening, Wolsey stated, “It was an outstanding night of coming together through music that unified us in our belief that we are all children of God.”
In addition to ecclesiastical leaders, the evening also saw local community leaders in attendance, including Wayne Baldwin, mayor of the City of White Rock, along with his wife, Jane. Attendees represented a wide range of faith traditions and ethnic backgrounds, and they all came out to the event despite heavy snowfall and winter storm warnings.