British Columbia

Terrace, B.C. reverend turns church into 'sanctuary from hatred'

Rev. Teri Meyer says even in her northwest B.C. community of less than 12,000, there's been 'a rise in fear and uncertainty' since the U.S. election.

'Treating one another as human beings isn't political. It's just a good thing to do.'

Rev. Teri Meyer of the Knox United Church in Terrace says even if people don't agree on politics, they should find a way to work together for the greater good. (Teri Meyers)

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."

Listen to the full interview with Rev. Teri Meyer

'Compassion isn't political'

Meyer's decided to use the upcoming B.C. Family Day long weekend to try and build bridges among different people in the community by hosting what she's calling "A Day of Love and Action." 
The Knox United Church in Terrace, B.C. is opening its doors to be a sanctuary from hatred on Feb. 13. (Teri Meyer)

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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