A group of local women is espousing to eliminate misconceptions, fears and ignorance by educating people about various religions and faiths.
The fourth Interfaith Women Gathering event, set for Monday, Feb. 25, aims to do that with women, who, organizers believe, will carry forward the message peacefully.
Women Gathering was born in 2010 when former Oakville mayor Ann Mulvale and Laila Eiriksson, secretary general of the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Oakville, got together with other local faith leaders.
“Our goal is to increase understanding between women of different world religions as they set time apart to be with God and share fellowship,” said Mulvale said in an e-mail sent to The Oakville Beaver.
“We believe knowledge is a powerful thing. It can literally change lives. That together, we can and must work for the peace we all hunger for and the world needs.”
Keynote speaker for the gathering is Dr. Ingrid Mattson, from Huron University College at Western University. Mattson is a chair in Islamic Studies at Huron University College, a professor, author, founder of the Islamic Chaplaincy Program and director of the MacDonald Center for Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut.
This year’s gathering will be held from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the ISNA Canada Centre, 2200 South Sheridan Way, Mississauga.
It will include group meditations and speakers from faiths including Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, First Nations, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh and Zoroastrian.
The cost is $35 per person and a $5 donation will support charities that help women locally, such as Halton Women’s Place, and internationally. “In the past, more than $10,000 has been donated to charities helping victims of HIV/AIDS, the earthquake in Haiti, literacy programs in the developing world, Athena Scholarship Fund for women at Sheridan College and church outreach funds,” Mulvale said.
Participants are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for the ISNA Canada food bank. Visit www.womengathering.ca, or contact Mulvale at 905-844-4721 or mobileAnnM@bell.blackberry.net, or Wendy Janisse at 905-845-5355 or firstname.lastname@example.org.