St.Michael and All Angel's church in Prince George is the home of a new Centre of Peace and Reconciliation.
On the 20th June, the Centre of Peace and Reconciliation co-hosted with the Interfaith Council of Prince George, a pot luck celebration for International Refugee Day. Currently the United Nations indicates we have seventy million refugees in the world who are seeking a safe place to call home and to rear their families.In 2018 Canada accepted 28,400 refugees, which is a drop in the ocean of need in our world. More than 80 people gathered for this celebratory pot luck supper.
The evening commenced with Rose Tohme, a Christian Syrian refugee, opening with a prayer in Arabic and then English. Her prayer was universal and spoke to all faiths present. Then followed supper and we had foods from almost everywhere in the world Iran,Syria,Africa,India,Philipines,Europe and last but not least, Canada.
It was a fabulous feast, fit for royalty and wickedly tempting, especially the desserts fron Syria! From the noise level in the hall, vibrant conversations and lots of laughter were the order of the evening!
After supper, we had a five minute talk from Teresa .She told us two stories of refugee families that she has had the priviliedge of getting to know and support. The stories were very touching and humbling.
We then had a one minute of silence; and we stood in memory of the many thousands and thousands of refugees who have died tried to reach safety. Thirty four thousand ,three hunded and forty bodies have been retrieved from the Mediterrean sea in Europe; just one of the world's horrific statistics. There are many more refugees who have died trying to cross the Sahara desert in Africa and in the desert area between Mexico and America.These deceased are mothers ,fathers, daughters,sons,sisters and brothers, all loved by their families.
Too many countries in the world today are building walls and fences ,turning refugees away in their hour of desperate need.Six million ,seven hundred thousand Syrians alone have fled Syria during the civil recent war there.
After the moving stories told, one of the Syrian refugees present,who used to be a famous folk singer, sang us a soulful song about the loss of his beloved Syria. It brought tears to the eyes of all present.
A beautiful candle donated by city councillor Susan Scott of Grace Anglican church, was then lit as a universal symbol of hope,life and moving forward. Mayor Lynn Hall was also with us to support the evening events at St.Michael and All Angels. He sat at the table with the Rector of our church, the Revd Debbie Scheepers and her husband the Revd Clive Scheepers.
To date,St.Michael and All Angel's with Grace Anglican and the Roman Catholic churches of Prince George, have co sponsored two Muslim refugee families to come and live among us in Prince George. Other churches in Prince George have also sponsored other families. On this special night, we warmly celebrated with our newly arrived sisters and brothers . We pray fervently that the one God of us all, will bind us together with golden threads of love. We thank God for granting us this wonderful celebration.
Submitted by Marie Hay
Peoples Warden Parish of St Michael and All Angels