Next month, interfaith activists from across North America will gather in Toronto, Canada, for NAIN Connect, the annual meeting of the North American Interfaith Network. Hosted by the Toronto Area Interfaith Council, this year’s Connect is centered on the theme, “In Diversity is Our Strength,” and will take place from August 11-14.
Featured speakers will include Sr. Sue Mosteller, speaking about L’Arche, an international organization that since 1964 has created communities that serve the developmentally handicapped in a group setting that includes non-handicapped housemates. Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche will also address the conferees via video, and a dance group from L’Arche will perform.
A panel of native Canadian leaders will speak on the meaning of diversity for native peoples, especially in light of their history with European settlers. Workshops are planned to cover issues ranging from interfaith cooperation to address poverty in Ontario to resources for using religious storytelling for interfaith education, to a walking tour of eight local religious sites.
Throughout the gathering there will be opportunities for attendees to experience different prayer from Jewish Sikh, Hindu, Celtic and Orthodox Christian, and Muslim traditions, as well as an interfaith prayer time.
This year, NAIN is celebrating its 25th year of bringing together the Connect. The first one was held in Wichita, Kansas, and part of the celebration this year will include a history of NAIN since those days. All of the NAIN Chairs except founding Chair Chuck White will be present, and will join a panel for dialogue with the Young Adult Scholars about where interfaith work has been and what lies ahead.
Rachael Watcher, the current NAIN Chair says, “I can think of no better setting in our country to focus on and affirm diversity than Toronto, Canada’s largest and perhaps most diverse city. Toronto’s interfaith story will be shared along with the interfaith stories of our member organizations…Our promising young adults will have a time together to discover and share their interfaith calling, and all of us, young and older, will commit to continue the interfaith journey to building interfaith understanding, cooperation, harmony and peace.”
The full listing of workshops and events can be found on the NAIN website.
Local members of NAIN include the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council, The Interfaith Center at the Presidio in San Francisco, Covenant of the Goddess, The Chaplaincy Institute and CreativeFilms, Inc.