Terrace, B.C. reverend turns church into 'sanctuary from hatred'
'Treating one another as human beings isn't political. It's just a good thing to do.'
A reverend in Terrace, B.C. is turning her church into a "sanctuary from hatred" in response to what she sees as an increasingly divisive political climate.
"Ever since a certain date in November we've been walking around, most people, with a glazed look on their face and fear in their eyes," Rev. Teri Meyer told CBC Daybreak North host Robert Doane.
"We may feel removed somewhat in Terrace from Washington and Syria and Quebec and Standing Rock and other places in the world but it all affects us," she explained.
"We live in a global community."
Meyer said even in her northwest B.C. community of less than 12,000 there's been "a rise in fear and uncertainty" around town.
"Most communities do have edges of racism, they're not immune to xenophobia," she said.
"We have refugees who've come to our community from Syria, we have an LGBTQ community here. We have people who are afraid."
'Compassion isn't political'
From noon until 8:30 p.m. PT her church will be open to anyone feeling overwhelmed by current events.
"We wanted to provide space and opportunity for people to just talk to one another," she said.
"How can we use our diversity as gifts and community building and not just to create greater divides?"
Meyer worries people feel they have permission to be bullies now and hopes to highlight all that people have in common.
She encourages participants to be curious about what drives people to have opinions and ideas that might differ from their own.
"Instead of being ready for a fight or an argument, be curious," she said. "Maybe we're not as far divided as we think we are."
"Compassion isn't political. Treating one another as human beings isn't political. It's just a good thing to do."
With files from George Baker
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