Undeterred by cold, wet weather on 3rd February 2018, 120 people, including 25 SSIO members, gathered enthusiastically at the Toronto-York Sathya Sai Centre to celebrate inclusion and interfaith harmony through delightful musical offerings and insightful talks. The celebration, a collaborative effort of the SSIO, St. Philips Lutheran Church, and Metropolitan United Church, served as a precursor to the Parliament of World Religions, to be held in Toronto in November 2018. After the welcome address, the President of the SSIO of Canada addressed the gathering, followed by inspiring talks about the importance of human values and a united front to combat negative forces.
The programme showcased five interfaith musical events. First, Sathya Sai Young Adults led an uplifting prayer of all faiths. Second, St. Philips Lutheran Church presented four compositions including an anthem highlighting the glory of God and an African-American spiritual. The third event presented three ghazals in the Sufi tradition that underscored the importance of love and unity among people of all faiths. The fourth presentation, by members of the Baha’i faith, celebrated the joy of being devotees of God and seekers of Truth. In the final presentation, a young adult of the SSIO read a moving letter written by “Faith,” which takes the form of a human being to write a letter to humanity itself. During interviews, interfaith leaders spoke about the significance of the Interfaith Harmony Week and how it is necessary to reconcile differences and stand shoulder to shoulder to combat negativity. The local TV channel covered the event.