Submitted by Srs Agnes and Madeleine, fcJ
On August 18, on a lovely sunny Sunday, a picnic for two communities of newcomers to Canada, Syrian Christians and Turkish Muslims was held at the FCJ Christian Life Centre, Calgary, Canada. This was the third annual gathering, which began as a desire in the hearts of the FCJ Centre staff to help people who had been refugees to adopt Canadian values of caring for the environment, inclusion, reaching out to neighbors across religious, ethnic, and cultural lines, and enjoyment of the out-of-doors.
Before the event, a committee of people from the Centre, the Syrian Christian, and the Moslem Islamic communities meets and plans out the day. The exercise of meeting and planning already offers opportunities for each one to reach across cultural lines and learn about how things are done in different places. All aspects of the picnic were carefully planned, from setting up tents, to food, to music and dancing, to garbage and recycling. For many newcomers, this event is their introduction to recycling.
This year’s gathering was filled with enriching cultural music, dancing and food from both communities, as well as face painting and friendly conversations. All who came have woven a fabric of friendship colored by gratitude, respect and love for peace and harmony.