Faith based clergy on homelessness

Multifaith homelessnessIf you sense and believe that you can be an agent of positive change in our world, and you hold that it is possible for us to generate greater justice, greater harmony, and greater peace, then you are, in essence, a person of faith. Our faith traditions offer teachings, narratives and details that are often clouded in mysteries or obscured by semantics and these can sometimes generate division and separation. However, when we glimpse how interconnected all of creation really is, we can transcend division and fear and move towards Oneness. To love the other as you love yourself is a powerful commitment that faith demands from each of us and this tenet is found in almost all spiritual and wisdom traditions.

One way that love manifests is through wanting another person to have and experience the things that you need and cherish—like waking up in a secure place in a warm dry bed that is my own. My sense is that a real marker of a spiritual awakening is rising compassion. The word compassion literally means, “to suffer together.” Deep compassion sometimes hurts. Compassion towards the homeless in our community begins when we realize that the homeless are us. The homeless are not some strange tribe of people who congregate on Pandora Avenue or Topaz Park. The homeless are our siblings.

Homelessness is a painful image reflected back to all of us from the mirror of our collective soul. We can spin discourses on the origins of our homeless problem but in doing so we often place the blame on something outside ourselves and do not take ownership of the reality. We know from our faith traditions and from rational logic that it is the most vulnerable among us who should be in the center of our community—a place where they are protected, visible and accessible, a place where the most vulnerable can receive the care and support they need.

Marginalization as a default is emblematic of injustice. Turning to our police force to maintain order and protect us from our community’s weakest members suggests we are losing our faith as a collective, that we are buying into the growing manipulative narrative that feeds our fear, pounding into our consciousness a fear that there is lack, that we are limited, and that we need to shore up our own needs and compete with one another for basic survival. This fear-driven narrative of lack, competition and mistrust generates division and is antithetical to faith.

We have no magic wand to neatly solve this enormous issue. We know that insights and wise choices need to come both from the top down and the bottom up. The 1st century BCE sage Hillel taught, “If I am not for me who will be, if I am only for myself what am I, if not now, when?” We need to ensure that our actions are doable and sustainable. There is a difference between discomfort and irreparable damage. We must act because not acting or pushing this off onto others diminishes us as a compassionate community. We must act now. Let’s show each other that we really mean it when we say, “We are in this together.”

Prepared by Rabbi Harry and endorsed by members of Victoria’s faith based clergy.

Jewish Chaplain at the University of Victoria


Application due date: November 28, 2019 — It is important that we have a Jewish Chaplain on campus for Jewish students who are far from home and seeking answers to their questions from a Jewish perspective. You don’t have to be a Rabbi to do this job. You just need to have a good heart; a reasonable working knowledge of Jewish values, culture, and ritual; good communication skills; an openness to diversity in all its forms; and some free time.
The Jewish Federation of Victoria and Vancouver Island (JFVVI) has been asked to make a recommendation to the University to fill this interesting opportunity.
The UVic Jewish Chaplain will work as part of the UVic Multifaith Services team.
To apply for the position, please send a letter to JFVVI describing your interests and background, a short resume, and the names of two references who we can contact if we wish.
Send your application letter or any questions that you may have via email to Application due date: November 28, 2019.

Ayre: a song cycle by Osvaldo Golijov


October 25, 26, 28 at 7 pm 925 Balmoral Road — Soprano Miriam Kralil and the Aventa Ensemble will perform Ayre, a one-hour opera, composed by Jewish Argentinean Osvaldo Golijov and produced by Pacific Opera Victoria (POV). All three performances take place at The Baumann Centre, 925 Balmoral Road, Victoria at 7:00 pm on Thursday, Oct. 25, Friday, Oct. 26 and Sunday, Oct. 28.  Ticket prices (general seating) Adult $35, Student $15.  Limited tickets per show: purchase tickets from Pacific Opera Victoria Box Office, call 250-385-0222 or…
Continue reading Ayre: a song cycle by Osvaldo Golijov

Religious and Cultural Intolerance: How Do We Respond?


At 3 pm, November 5  the Victoria Society for Humanistic Judaism (VCHJ) will present a panel discussion on Religious and Cultural Intolerance at the Jewish Community Centre of Victoria, 3636 Shelbourne Street.

Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, a psychologist with experience in cross-cultural dialogue and trauma counselling and Victoria Shoah Project representative, will moderate. The panel will include Dr. Charlotte Shira Schallié, Associate Professor and Director, European Studies Program in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies, University of Victoria; Julius Maslovat, Holocaust Survivor; Dr. Farouk Mitha Islamic Scholar, Lecturer, Faculty of Education, University of Victoria and the Rev. Michelle Slater, Minister of Word, Sacrament and Pastoral Care, Oak Bay United Church.  Refreshments will be served; everyone welcome.  For further information contact , Ceremonial Leader at 250-474-7173 or

Destination: Bahá’í Faith

Travel the faith

On Friday Oct. 20 or Saturday Oct. 21 at 7 pm, you’re invited to the fourth in the Travel the World’s Religions series sponsored by the Victoria Multifaith Society (VMS), to experience the Bahá’í Faith through a musical drama called The Gathering, commissioned by the Bahá’í Community of Victoria to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh, the prophet-founder of the Bahá’í Faith. Continue reading Destination: Bahá’í Faith

UVic needs Jewish Chaplain

Rabbi in classApplication due date: September 05, 2017 — The University of Victoria needs a part-time volunteer Jewish Chaplain who can provide on campus support for Jewish students who are far from home and seeking answers to their questions from a Jewish perspective. You don’t have to be a Rabbi to do this job. You just need to have a good heart; a reasonable working knowledge of Jewish values, culture, and ritual; good communication skills; openness to diversity in all its forms; and some free time. Continue reading UVic needs Jewish Chaplain

Victoria Multifaith Society – AGM

Sunday, November 6, 2–4pm


The Victoria Multifaith Society
will hold its Annual General Meeting on Sunday, the 6th of November, from 2
– 4 p.m.
at the Ismaili Jamatkhana, 1250 Esquimalt Road

The program will
include our annual report, election of 3 board members, discussion, artistic/devotional
elements, light refreshments and time to socialize. Members of VMS are invited
to attend; the general public are also very welcome. 

We hope that as many as possible
will join us to celebrate our progress and provide input for the coming year. 

We would also like to ask members to submit the names of any proposed
candidates for the currently unfilled seats of Sikh and First Nations board
members within fourteen days, i.e. by 20 October.

Victoria MultiFaith Society offers “Lunch & Learn” series in October


On September 29, 2016, Dr. Michael Hadley, a multidisciplinary scholar and Associate Fellow with the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at UVic, launched the new Victoria Multifaith Society Lunch & Learn series of talks about Islam, the Unitarian Church, Christianity, and the Bahá’i faith, respectively, to be held every Thursday at noon throughout October, in the Chapter Room at Christ Church Cathedral, 930 Burdett Avenue

These will be followed by a second series of faiths, planned to begin in February 2017. In all, the faith ​traditions that we anticipate being represented include Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Bahá’í, Unitarian, First Nations, Buddhist and Sikh​. 

The purpose of this series is to present introductory information about faith communities that exist in the Victoria region and to present this in an abbreviated way to people who may live or work in the downtown area, both to those of faith or of no faith

  • All are welcome! Please pass along this message; poster attached.
  • Bring a bagged lunch; coffee and tea to be provided.
  • Parking is available – ​The Chapter Room of Christ Church Cathedral is easily accessed from the car park on Burdett Ave. (map link below).


  • Oct. 6: Islam:  Imam Ismail Mohamed Nur    
  • Oct. 20: Unitarian:  Rev. Shana Lynngood
  • Oct. 13: Christian:  Rev. Ansley Tucker
  • Oct. 27: Bahá’í:  Garry Antinuk          

​Each week a speaker representing a faith community will present pertinent aspects of his or her religion for up to 25 minutes and will consider questions or comments from the floor for a further 5 or 10 minutes: 

  • 12:00 Arrive
  • 12:10 Introduction of the Speaker 
  • 12:15 – 12:40: Speaker presentation
  • 12:40 – 12:50: Questions / comments 
  • 1:00 pm: Session close

Each talk will be structured as follows:

  • The essence of my faith
  • A VERY BRIEF history
  • Core beliefs / key concepts
  • Principal practices / customs
  • Holy books / texts
  • Recommended reading​