Re-Opening Places of Worship

Statement from ICP re: Phase 2 Re-Opening of Places of Worship this Friday June 12th.

We are living in difficult times. Religious community is built around gathering together in prayer, ritual, and relationship. During this Covid-19 pandemic, we are unable to do these things together in the ways to which we are accustomed. Our Peel faith communities have found new ways to innovate and create community, reaching out virtually during this time to engage and support our members and community under the social distancing guidelines.

The Interfaith Council of Peel recognizes that the emergency measures have taken a significant toll on our places of worship and congregations and that faith communities yearn to gather in person. As measures are changing and places of worship have been permitted to begin opening at 30% capacity effective this Friday June 12, 2020, we acknowledge those who celebrate the change but reaffirm the need for patience and caution as we each consider plans for reopening our in-person faith and communal functions. While we yearn for connection and the chance to worship together, and understand and respect Premier Ford’s announcement transitioning Ontario towards the easing of restrictions, COVID-19 remains a considerable threat. It is the health, safety, and well-being of our communities and neighbors that motivate us towards making decisions that will care for and protect one another.

We are diverse in our worship and in our institutions. Each institution is responsible for its due diligence and should proceed at its own pace keeping in mind liability, equity and public health directives. In considering reopening and return to our holy spaces, we must be guided by the recommendations of public health officials. We must approach the complicated process of regathering in our houses of worship with abundant caution and intention. The health of those we serve, support, employ and engage is the highest of priorities. We should seek expert advice, ensure that we adhere to prevention practices of physical distancing, hand washing, wearing of masks and sanitization of common surfaces and register everyone visiting our houses of worship for the purpose of contact tracing in case of an outbreak.

We ask all faith communities to remember one other in your thoughts and prayers hoping that we ride out this pandemic with minimal impact.

Peace and Blessings to everyone.

Rabbi Audrey Pollack- Chair, ICP
Urz Heer- Co-Chair, ICP
Steering Committee, ICP

Statement of Solidarity #Black Lives Matter

As millions of people around the world unite to speak out against the killing of George Floyd, many are grappling with grief, anger and anxiety. We are heartbroken and outraged at the senseless violence targeting the Black community and recognize that systemic racism is a problem not only in the United States but here in Canada and around the world. The belief that there is little to no racism in Canada is in itself a barrier to addressing it. We acknowledge that we can all do better and need to look inward to see how we can make long-term and sustainable change and on both individual and communal levels must engage in these important conversations.

To our Black friends, congregation members, neighbours, and valued community members, please know that we see you, we hear you, and we stand alongside you. Taking responsibility and striving to do better is fundamental to the mission, vision, and values of the Interfaith Council of Peel and what we stand for.

We call upon our leaders to address ongoing racism in all sectors and levels of society. We challenge our faith communities to act on local and national levels to support Black and Indigenous people both directly and on a systemic level. We must all do the hard work together advocating for policy change and for confronting racism within our own communities, including our congregations. Each of us must do the hard work of looking inwards and confronting our biases, fears, assumptions and privilege. We must take on the task of educating ourselves on how white privilege and systemic racism contribute to injustice and inequality in Canada. We need to have difficult and uncomfortable conversations as we do the deep listening work of learning from the lived experience of the Black community, whose voices and stories guide the rest of us in our fervent work to confront and put an end to racism.

Our faith traditions call upon us to work together towards making this world one of justice, wholeness, and compassion. We encourage each of you to connect with your own faith community to reflect on the challenging days that have passed, join together in prayers for justice and healing and commit to a process of learning and discernment together. We encourage faith communities to create ongoing opportunities for engagement efforts to confront systemic racism, shift the moral narrative, impact policies and elections, and build lasting power for poor and impacted people. The work of these critical conversations and active participation in standing up for racial justice is ongoing. While this is a challenging time, we draw strength knowing that as communities of faith we can continue to learn and push for change.

affirmed by Interfaith Council of Peel Steering Committee

June 10, 2020

Calls for Prayers

The letter of support sent by ICP to the Mayor’s Office May 2020 over the Council’s decision to allow the broadcast of calls to prayers during Ramadan.

Dear Mayor Bonnie Crombie,

The Interfaith Council of Peel supports the City of Mississauga’s resolution to approve the broadcast of calls for prayers to all faiths in the city. In this pandemic time, so much has been taken from us, and especially from communities of faith who yearn to gather not only for worship and celebration, but also to do good work in our neighbourhoods and our city, and to support one another in both good and challenging times.  Rather than thinking of this simple action as divisive, or favouring one group over another, may it be a reminder that members of our community are deeply missing each other, that our lives personally and collectively have changed.  May this call be a reminder to take just a few moments to think of those who cannot gather: celebrating families and grieving families, friends and social groups, even sports teams – and faith communities; to be thankful for healthcare workers, police, fire and EMT’s, and people on the front lines, for workers who are performing essential roles to keep us safe and to keep our communities going; to pray for courage for our leaders who are making hard decisions; to pray for people who face hate and discrimination brought on by fear and anger.  Each faith has ways that outwardly inspire and encourage their congregations and we are in support of the City and Mayor’s efforts especially in this very challenging time to enable faith communities and faith leaders to reach out and support our diverse community and bring us together in a spirit of hope and comfort. 

The Interfaith Council of Peel

Chair: Rabbi Audrey Pollack, Solel Congregation of Mississauga

Co-Chair:Urz Heer, Canadian Sufi Centre

Rowshan Shams, The Bahai Community of Mississauga

Wilson Yau, Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple

Rev. Joanne Hedge, Applewood United Church

Pastor Richard Edwards, Mt.Zion House of Praise

Varsha Naik, Hindu Faith Community
Arliene Botnick, Solel Congregation of Mississauga

Rabia Khedr, Muslim Council of Peel

Amtul Ahmad, Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat

Seema Khan, ISNA Canada

Harmanpreet Singh, Sikh Faith Community

Fred Mirza, Zoroastrian Society of Ontario

Rev. Fiona Heath, Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga

Andrea Rowe – Greening Sacred Spaces Peel-Halton

Ashley Bigda, Community Relations PDSB

Michelle McLeish, Region of Peel Human Services & Community Relations

Helping the Vulnerable

ICP member ISNA is providing relief kits and services to help the vulnerable during COVID-19.   We are helping those who are unable to leave home for whatever reason – simply register them online and our team will contact tem and deliver the essential supplies to their doorstep.  In addition to food boxes we can provide hygiene kits, prescription & medication runs and other small services.

ISNA is working in collaboration with ten other organizations and can deliver services across many cities including Mississauga, Oakville, Brampton, Milton, Burlington, Etobicoke and Toronto.

Interfaith Harmony Week in Peel

The ICP Steering Committee thanks all those who came out in Mississauga and Brampton to celebrate the United Nations 2020 Interfaith Harmony Week.

At Mississauga City Hall with Mayor Crombie
At Brampton City Hall with Mayor Brown
ICP Steering Committee members with Mayor Crombie

Interfaith Prayer Breakfast

Join Mayor Bonnie Crombie for the Interfaith Prayer Breakfast on Monday, February 3rd, 2020. Co-hosted by the Mayor and the Interfaith Council of Peel, it will mark the annual United Nations observance of World Interfaith Harmony Week.

The breakfast is open to all leaders of Mississauga’s faith community. Join us in celebrating the principles of tolerance, peace and respect with the Mississauga interfaith community.

RSVP to the event is required.

To join the event, you must RSVP at the link below by Tuesday, January 28th, 2020. Details of the event are as follows:

Date: Monday, February 3rd, 2020

Time: 8:30am-10:00am

Location: C Banquets, 300 City Centre Drive, 12th Floor

RSVP here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/interfaith-prayer-breakfast-tickets-89269767277

If you have any questions, please contact City of Mississauga staff Natasha Mistry by email: Natasha.mistry@mississauga.ca or by phone: 905-896-5065.

Annual Meeting in November

Thursday November 21st 1:00pm – 3:00pm

Join the ICP at our annual meeting with special guest speaker Richard Landau.

Fo Guang Shan Temple of Toronto 6525 Millcreek Drive, Mississauga

RSVP by November 19th to interfaithcouncilpeel@gmail.com

Summer Picnic

Come out on Sunday, June 23rd, 2019 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.

at Solel Congregation of Mississauga.

All are welcome to the Interfaith Council of Peel’s annual summer picnic. We will have food and entertainment to enjoy as we mingle and learn more about the many faiths in Mississauga.

Refreshments will be provided. The event is free of charge and will take place rain or shine.

Join the ICP to connect with diverse faith communities in Peel Region for a day of fun and fellowship. All are welcome!

Please RSVP by June 20, 2019 here: https://icpsummerpicnic.eventbrite.ca.