The CPN includes more than 300 local businesses and organizations who are broadening their capacity to engage with diverse communities and be more inclusive. In each newsletter we highlight one of our members and the work they do to support inclusion.
Created in 2006, the Victoria Multifaith Society (VMS) is a vibrant cross-section of local faith and spiritual communities. The mission of the VMS is to learn from each of its member communities, celebrate unity in diversity, and work respectfully together for the well-being of the community and the world. The VMS’s nine member board represents a rich range of faith groups including Aboriginal Spirituality, Bahá’í, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism and an unaffiliated seat currently held by the Unity Church. Following the tragic events of 9/11 in 2001, faith communities faced tough questions, challenges and confusion about the role of religion in the modern world. Soon after, representatives of several local faith communities began to meet regularly, organizing multi-faith gatherings and street festivals designed to rediscover and celebrate positive relationships between faith communities. The response was extraordinary and the need for a formal association was evident.
In 2006, a formal Board of Directors was elected and the name Victoria Multifaith Society was chosen. Sheila Flood is a long-time board member and current secretary of the VMS. Sheila explained that the “VMS wanted to demonstrate that we can work together, that what unites us is much stronger than what separates us. The overlapping wisdom at the heart of our various faith communities also forms the spiritual heritage of all humanity.” Today, the VMS strives to promote greater understanding, respect and co-operation for all faiths and congregations in our region. The VMS is active year-round organizing interfaith events such as workshops, presentations, forums, and festivals designed to encourage understanding and promote tolerance across faiths. The VMS joined the CPN in 2010 and has collaborated on interfaith dialogues, interfaith world harmony week and other community-based events with the CPN and the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria. It works alongside a number of community organizations such as the UVic Multifaith Centre, the Sierra Club, and the recently created Starfields Arts and Culture Festival.
Sheila pointed out that, “the value of being part of the CPN is that the VMS is able to network and work with a number of different organizations and businesses to promote inclusion across faiths. The VMS is proud to be part of the Community Partnership Network and work with ICA to build a welcoming and inclusive Greater Victoria.” For more information about the VMS and how your organization might collaborate with them, please visit their website: Victoria Multifaith Society