Religions come together for interfaith pilgrimage, spread words of peace

A 16-kilometre trek throughout Surrey visits church, mosque and more to celebrate World Interfaith Harmony week on Sunday.

A 16-km trek in Surrey visits church, mosque and more to celebrate World Interfaith Harmony week

The Surrey Interfaith Pilgrimage takes place on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017. (City of Surrey)

UPDATE: 

The pilgrimage, which was scheduled for Sunday morning, has been cancelled because of concerns about the safety of roads and sidewalks due to recent snow.

Don't mention religion or politics in polite company, the old adage goes. But the Surrey Interfaith Council respectfully disagrees.

The group is organizing an interfaith pilgrimage on Sunday. It's a chance for people from different religious backgrounds to talk about the common ground they share, instead of their differences, as they break bread with one another.

"We all have the same goal, and that's to bring peace to the world," council member Gord Leslie told host Rick Cluff on CBC's The Early Edition

"By doing that, we have to try to understand each other."

The group has organized a 16-kilometre trek that encourages people of all faiths and religions backgrounds to get to know each other. The walk includes stops at a mosque, a Hindu temple, a church, and a gurdwara.

The walk is inspired by the Abraham Path — a walking trail that runs through the Middle East that connects sites of Abrahamic history. Those who walk the trail travel through different villages, experiencing different cultures and making friends along the way.

Leslie says the goal of the Surrey pilgrimage is to emulate the coming together of faiths that often occurs on the Abraham path.

The need for peace

While the tour has become an annual event, Leslie says this year holds a special significance following the shootings in Quebec City.

"It's affected us deeply," he said. "It strikes at the very heart of what we're trying to do, which is bring people of different faiths together, and show that we can work on common goals."

People pray at a funeral service for three of the six victims of the Quebec City mosque shooting at the Quebec City convention centre on Friday. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

He says the outpouring of support for the victims' family, and the thousands that attended the funeral on Friday, is a symbol of Canadian tolerance and respect.

"It is, I think, typical of Canadian thinking. We're a peaceful nation, we're a multicultural nation and we believe in live and let live. Just because I don't agree with somebody's point of view doesn't meant that I want to hurt them in any way."

"When this happen, it strikes us all."

The walk will begin at 9 a.m. at the Thien Ton Buddhist Temple, 17192 96 Ave, in Surrey.

With files from CBC's The Early Edition


To listen to the full interview, click on the audio labelled: Religions come together for interfaith pilgrimage, spread words of peace