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DIVERSE city community resources society. Inter-Faith Bridging Initiatives A presentation for “Religion and Society” Symposium – February 2, 2011. ABOUT DIVERSE city. Established October 1978

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Diverse city community resources society

DIVERSEcity community resources society

Inter-Faith Bridging Initiatives

A presentation for “Religion and Society” Symposium – February 2, 2011

About diverse city

  • Established October 1978

  • Mission: “To promote the independence of New Canadians and to build strong, culturally diverse communities.”

  • 168 staff and approximately 125 volunteers

  • Accredited with Council on Accreditation

    For more information on our programs and services, please visit us at: www.dcrs.ca

Operational principles
Operational Principles

  • Client-centred & Holistic services

  • Service Quality

  • Accountability

  • Transparency

  • Innovation and Responsiveness

  • Capacity Building – clients and community

In the beginning
In the beginning . . .

  • 2002: DIVERSEcity’s initial engagement with an Inter-Faith project

  • HARMONY: A Community Forum on Islam was held on March 16, 2002 to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (March 21st)

Harmony a community forum on islam
HARMONY:A Community Forum on Islam

The goals of the forum were:

  • To promote harmony between Muslims and non-Muslims locally.

  • To provide a forum through which non-Muslims can increase their knowledge and understanding of Islam and Muslims.

  • To bring together a diverse group of Muslims to work collaboratively on identifying common issues and developing collaborative strategies.

Fast forward to 2009
Fast Forward to 2009

  • The Ministry of Citizen’s Services and Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism announces funding for Inter-Faith Bridging Projects under the EmbraceBC initiative.

  • DIVERSEcity explored opportunities to partner with a community based initiative . . .

Surrey neighbouring faiths program
Surrey Neighbouring Faiths Program

Mission Statement:

The Surrey Neighbouring Faiths Program builds community capacity for multi-faith learning and dialogue with a focus onchildren and families.

Surrey neighbouring faiths program1
Surrey Neighbouring Faiths Program

  • Surrey Neighbouring Faiths Program has been taking children aged 4-6 and their families on tours to nine houses of worship in Surrey since the summer of 2007.

  • At each visit, children participate in age-appropriate activities to learn about the people and practices of each tradition.

  • There are currently nine faith communities that participate in this program. They are . . .

Faith communities
Faith Communities

  • Bahá’í Faith

  • Buddhism

  • Christianity

  • First Nations Spirituality

  • Hinduism

  • Islam

  • Latter-day Saints

  • Sikhism

  • Unitarianism

Snfp goals
SNFP Goals

  • To have fun, memorable experiences with people from different faith communities in Surrey

  • To visit different religious buildings in Surrey

  • To support children as they prepare to enter the diversity of the local school system

  • To build connections among families that value diversity

  • To empower families to raise knowledgeable and caring children in our multicultural and multifaith community

Multi faith story time kits project
Multi-Faith Story Time Kits Project

This program is made possible through funding from the Government of Canada and Province of British Columbia

Multi faith story time kits
Multi-Faith Story Time Kits

  • In 2009, through the Inter-Faith Bridging Projects grant, we developed 4 Multi-Faith and 11 Specific Faith Story Time Kits in partnership with the Surrey Public Library

  • A Story Time Kit contains age appropriate resources for story or circle times with preschool age children. E.g. books, CDs, puppets, felt stories

  • The Multi-Faith and Specific Faith Kits developed through our project also included religious artifacts, such as prayer beads, prayer mats, and statues

Multi faith story time kits1
Multi-Faith Story Time Kits

  • Available through the Surrey Public Library and the Surrey Child Care Resource and Referral (CCRR) office at OPTIONS Community Services Society, the Kits are intended for used by:

  • preschool teachers

  • Librarians

  • faith communities

  • inter-faith initiatives

  • community organizations

  • Early Childhood Education training workshops

Multi faith story time kits2
Multi-Faith Story Time Kits

  • SNFP - to link the partners and to coordinate the activities of the project

  • Surrey Public Library - key in enhancing the credibility of the kits and in enhancing the early literacy component

  • Faith communities – to provide Library staff with community input on the development of their specific faith kit.

  • Faith community representatives - to engage others from their faith communities to encourage dialogue amongst individuals within each community.

  • DIVERSEcity - to support innovative community capacity building and to enhance newcomer integration

Honouring diverse beliefs in our communities project
Honouring Diverse Beliefs in Our Communities Project

This program is made possible through funding from the Government of Canada and Province of British Columbia

Honouring diverse beliefs in our communities project1
Honouring Diverse Beliefs in Our Communities Project

  • The project is producing a Resource Toolkit called “Honouring Diverse Beliefs in Our Communities: A Conversational Toolkit”

  • This Toolkit is a resource for individuals, organizations and institutions to begin exploring the role of diverse beliefs in fostering welcoming and inclusive communities.

Honouring diverse beliefs in our communities project2
Honouring Diverse Beliefs in Our Communities Project

The Toolkit is comprised of:

  • A 20-25 minute video documentary that includes highlights of participants in the Surrey Neighbouring Faiths Program, as well as interviews with leaders from a range of community sectors

  • Suggested questions and notes for facilitated discussion before and after viewing of the video

  • Additional resources available on inter-faith bridging

Honouring diverse beliefs in our communities project3
Honouring Diverse Beliefs in Our Communities Project

Intended uses of the Toolkit include:

  • Staff in-services for community service agencies

  • Community workshops

  • Training programs at post-secondary institutions

  • Community dialogue initiatives and programs

  • Faith communities

  • Inter-Faith groups and networks


  • The goal is the dialogue.

  • Diverse faith beliefs are part of the dialogues on welcoming and inclusive communities.

  • Projects and resources produced build upon one another.

  • Inter-Faith dialogues can be sparked through bringing people together around a tangible project (methodology).

Learnings continued
Learnings - continued

  • There is a need for resources to support individuals working in the field to address challenges.

  • There is a willingness to use resources produced and to engage in these dialogues.

  • The wider we cast the net of inclusion, the more people will respond or feel included.

  • Inter-Faith dialogues can build trusting relationships – the foundation for successful integration and inclusive communities.

In closing
In closing . . .

A great big THANK YOU to . . .

  • All of you for listening so patiently

  • The funders of these projects

  • To our project partners and community supporters

  • Metropolis and those who made this day possible

  • My esteemed panelists

Tahzeem kassam director of community development tkassam@dcrs ca tel 604 597 0205 local 1274

Tahzeem Kassam

Director of Community Development


Tel: 604.597.0205, local 1274