MANITOBA MULTIFAITH COUNCIL – ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
TUESDAY, MAY 16, 2017
SAINT JOHN XXIII ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
After conducting the formal business of the Annual General Meeting there was a presentation on:
Belle Jarniewski, President of the Manitoba Multifaith Council, introduced Anita Neville of Shaarey Zedek Congregation, who opened the discussion of Operation Ezra.
Operation Ezra is a comprehensive Yazidi refugee relief project whose current goal is to sponsor and welcome, house and support ten (10) Yazidi families . It began as an initiative of the Jewish community currently headquartered at the Jewish Child and Family Services. However, Operation Ezra has evolved into a mutifaith endeavor and is now supported by a wide range of partners – faith communities, business, medical and educational. – as well as a cadre of 50 volunteers coming from all parts of the Winnipeg community.
One of the oldest religious and ethnic minorities in the world the Yazidis have faced religious persecution for over 700 years. The Yazidis are seeking to bring their families out of segregated refugee camps that are often life threatening to them and their children. They are hungry for a normal and safe life here in Canada free from persecution.
Three members of the Yazidi community addressed the meeting as did representatives of the volunteers, Jewish Child and Family Services, the Salvation Army and Grant Park School. In their remarks the community representatives made the following critical points:
- That they have come to understand that working with the Yazidis is an investment not a cost – a strengthening gift not a deficit;
- The Salvation Army representative reflected on the fact that it is amazing what can be done when faith communities come together and work collaboratively – a good example of “side by side” faith dialogue;
- The Vice Principal of Grant Park High School reflected on his experience as a newcomer to Canada and now, a short time later, is in a place to help others.
The Manitoba Multifaith Council has declared that the Yazidis are being persecuted and killed on the basis of faith alone. Operation Ezra is a community response to this tragic situation.
Multifaith AGM (left to right): Mohammad Rezai, Vice Principal Grant Park High School; Belle Jarniewski, President Manitoba Multifaith Council and two gentlemen from the Yazidis community.
Muslim-Catholic Dialogue: God Desires the Heart
In September 2016 two faith communities - Mary, Mother of the Church and the Manitoba Islamic Association - met for two sessions of dialogue on the topics of - 'The Name of God is Mercy' on September 14 and the 'Problem of Suffering', September 21. The conversations were led by Father Peter Genger of the Archdiocese of St. Boniface and Dr. Nazir Khan of the Islamic community. Read complete story.