AGM 2024

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

I would like to thank you all for attending the 2024 AGM for the Calgary Interfaith Council.

I would like to appreciate the Sikh Society of Calgary who is warmly hosting this event tonight like they did last year.  I am grateful to the Sikh Society for their continued support to the important work of CIC both financially and also in participation which underscores Guru Nanak’s teachings of the oneness and equality of all.  I also appreciate all of the Sikh community participation in the last year who has shown up when I have reached out to them- GRDD, Gobind Sarvar.

It is lovely to see the diversity of Faith communities represented here today and a growth in numbers since the last year.   I would like to highlight the significant events that took place in the last year as we prepare for another year for the Calgary Interfaith Council.

There is no doubt that the CIC has had a challenging year.   This challenge started in October with the terrorist attacks and then the subsequent Gaza war.   As a board we held listening circles of our own board which were difficult and painful but allowed each board member to speak from the depths of their heart.  We then held broader listening circles with the Muslim community and Jewish community representatives.  As the CIC we tried for a prayer service but had some issues moving forward until the mayor held her own community listening circle and encouraged and supported the CIC to hold an Interfaith prayer for Peace.   It was a honest dialogue of where each faith was at that time along with prayers for peace and reconciliation.  To all those who planned, who spoke, who participated and attended, on behalf of the CIC, I thank you.  It is so important that we strive for unity amongst the diversity of faiths especially during these critical times of world crisis.  And I do thank the media who engaged with us in a positive manner to highlight this unity of prayer.   And today I offer this prayer- Jagat Jalanda rukh le apni kirpa dhar.  O God, the world is burning in flames, please save it by whatever means it takes.  We pray for a ceasefire and resolution of the war in Gaza, even in Ukraine and anywhere there is humanitarian suffering on this planet. 

The CIC moved from that event in December to planning the UN world interfaith Harmony Week which given the Gaza war held even more significance this year.  By the Divine Grace, the first week of February was extended to a week and a half due to the number of events held, starting off with the Opening Ceremonies at City hall, a seminar with the Chair of Christian thought, a joint event with the University of Calgary Faith and Spirituality Centre and CIC for scriptural reasoning, an Interfaith potluck, a service project with the Salvation army , an event celebrating women of Faith, an Event for Indigenous Truth and reconciliation and to end it off an Interfaith Concert for Peace.   Again, by Divine Grace of God, all the events were successful.  Again, to all those individuals who planned these events and all their time to meet and ensure the success, to those who spoke at those events and to those of you who were in attendance, to live wire media, on behalf of the CIC, I thank you. 

The UNWIHW resulted in a Shared voice Statement from two of our Board members, Rabbi Glickman and Anwar M. to further express local unity and grief amongst the humanitarian crisis which resulted and continues with the Gaza war.  The Board of the CIC endorsed this Shared voice statement and live wire media supported us in this endeavour to highlight the statement.  I would like to thank both Anwar and Rabbi Glickman for their efforts to create a shared voice. It took time, effort and finessing but resulted in a statement of Unity in Calgary. 

Our last event just happened earlier this month with the Mayors Interfaith Breakfast which was an amazing sold-out event and extremely successful.  Our theme was the Canadian Faith Mosaic, and the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta was the keynote speaker.  She challenged all present to do more than to just speak about interfaith Unity but to act on it.  It was a lovely event, and such an event takes so much planning and meeting – 9 months of meeting and planning for that breakfast.  Again, to the Mayors Interfaith Breakfast committee who worked so hard and diligently to cover every aspect of that event, I am grateful and thankyou to you on behalf of the CIC.  Also, to all those who participated and all those who attended, thank you.  We ended on a high note with a unique Interfaith mosaic picture which is a beautiful representation of what Interfaith Unity can be. 

Today we are welcoming new board members to the CIC board, – Deborah, Reverand Samaya and Malik – and I give them a warm welcome and am grateful they are joining. To the board members of last year, I must say from the depths of my heart thank you as we would not be able to achieve what we did without you.   I also thank those board members leaving the board – Riyaz and Wallace.  Also, Thanks to Sarah Arthurs the executive director for the CIC.  She has worked tirelessly as the ED who really helped each event to be successful and her presence has allowed the CIC to expand further this last year. 

Last year at the AGM I spoke of the mala or rosary that represents the CIC…..Each faith being a special bead on this mala and God being the Guru bead that unites us and the faith that each religion has being the thread that binds us.   The lieutenant Governor also mentioned that analogy in her speech.   This is crucial to the success of the Calgary Interfaith Council.  We are those beads.  From the Sikh Scriptures, the Guru has said In Japji Sahib the Sikh morning prayer- Sabna jiya ka ik data so meh visar na jahi- we are all beings from the One Divine creator, may we never forget this.  And remember that if ever one faith is threatened then all faith can be threatened.  We must stand together in the divisive political times we live in and show that Faith can bring people together not divide them.  This responsibility is on our shoulders to prove to live and to emulate.  

Let us come together, work together, be together with love and unity to show that Faith Can bring people together in the next year with the Calgary Interfaith council.

Thank you all once again for coming to the CIC AGM and gracing us with your time, and presence. I look forward to seeing what we can achieve working together in the next year. 

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh. 

Author

  • Harjot Kaur Singh, Chairperson

    Dr. Harjot Kaur Singh is a dynamic and knowledgeable speaker and lecturer to Interfaith groups and a distinguished representative of the Calgary Sikh community. Among her leadership roles in the Sikh community, Dr. Singh is the Chair of the Sikh Advisory Committee of the University of Calgary Faith and Spirituality Centre, the Board of Director of the Guru Amar Das Niwas Seniors Nursing Home Association, the past Chair of the International Khalsa Council, and the Inaugural Lil Faider Scholar – in – Residence for the Beth Tzedec Synagogue. She currently is on the Board of Directors of Sikhnet and was a trustee on the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation. She has also been an integral part of Calgary Women in Spirituality. She was awarded the Pluralism Award of Excellence from the University of Calgary in 2017. Dr. Singh works in private practice as a family physician.

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