Surrey (March 11, 2013): On Friday March 8th, the World Sikh Organization (WSO) of Canada joined a gathering of faith communities at the Crossroads United Church in Delta, British Columbia to mark International Women’s Day. The evening of singing and story-telling brought together a panel of speakers from the Baha’i, Christian, Hindu, Sikh and Unitarian communities who told stories of inspirational women from their faith traditions.
WSO’s Executive Director Sukhvinder Kaur Vinning told the story of Bibi Nanaki, the elder sister of Guru Nanak and his first disciple. Bibi Nanaki defended Guru Nanak to their parents, supporting his right to fulfill his destiny as proscribed by the Divine. Sukhvinder Kaur described how this belief would later become a universal teaching for all in the Sikh Faith, along with the fact that rights are given to all beings by the Divine and one does not need permission to be equal or to fulfill one’s potential.
Kelly Anne Monjazeb told the Baha'i Story of Táhirih, the first female disciple of the Báb, a central figure in the Baha’i Faith. Jennifer Swanson told the story of Therese Lisieux a Carmelite Nun whose autobiography “The Story of a Soul” has inspired countless readers. Acharya S.P. Dwivedi told the story of Shabari, a figure in the Hindu epic Ramayana. Rosemary Liburd and Laurisa Orich from the Unitarian Church told the story of Lotta Hitschmanova, a great Canadian humanitarian who founded the Unitarian Service Committee of Canada.
Another highlight of the evening for many was the opportunity for group discussions and personal interaction. During the discussions, participants shared how they felt about the evening, discussed the women of faith who inspired them and asked questions to learn more about their faith neighbours. Some attendees took the opportunity to connect to explore the possibilities of working together to address gender-based violence through faith perspectives and future collaborations.
WSO British Columbia Vice President Gurdit Singh Rangi who was in attendance at the event said, “The evening was an amazing success. We could see real connections and tangible collaborations begin to take form. There was talk about participating in the SEVA For All Interfaith Baby Drive in April to support the most vulnerable in our society. Other participants were interested in getting together in the future to meditate together or hold interfaith potlucks or dinners. Gatherings like this, which bring people of diverse backgrounds together to discuss issues that affect all of us are absolutely essential. We hope to see more such events in the future.”
Contact:Sukhvinder Kaur Vinning Executive Director (604) 338-1299 [email protected]