Minister's Column - Riverside Reflections
Riverside Reflections November, 2012
- Category: Minister's Column - Riverside Reflections
Rev. Millie Rochester
After a successful Western Region Fall Gathering of Canadian Unitarian Universalists, ministers remained in Saskatoon for a couple of days, meeting at a retreat center on the banks of the Saskatchewan River (several of us writing for newsletters, at the moment!). It is good to be together; so many congregations are relatively isolated, we miss seeing one another on a more frequent basis. Soon I will travel to Williamsburg, Virginia, to attend the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA) Fall Conference, in between returning home to Winnipeg just long enough to attend a meeting of our Board, unpack, pack again, and sleep a bit.
Making and nurturing connections with others is important for establishing and maintaining a healthy perspective. Connections can be made closer to home, too, some beyond our particular faith tradition – fortunate, in a world that is often torn asunder by division and violence. I'm glad for these opportunities.
In Winnipeg, I am involved with four different interfaith organizations. One focuses on sharing information and views regarding neighbourhood issues; another features monthly guest speakers who address programs in the city and beyond that are designed to increase mutual understanding through education. I attend each of these groups as I'm able.
Two other groups occupy more of my time and attention: The Manitoba Multifaith Council, which reflects the diversity of a dozen faith traditions, has since 1969 sought to build the common good of the province by facilitating respect, understanding and cooperation among different faith groups through work in education, spiritual health, the corrections system, and community relations. I have served on the Education Committee, and now sit on the Board, chairing the Community Relations Committee.
The goals of all these groups are made more real through the activity of yet another – The Community Advisory Committee for the Lt. Governor's Award for the Advancement of Inter-Religious Understanding. Each January, in a ceremony at Government House, the Lt. Governor confers this award on a Manitoban who engages their own community and encourages others in interfaith activity that promotes human harmony and understanding of one another's religious perspectives and demonstrates a breadth of influence beyond their own traditions. I am honoured to participate in bringing forward and reviewing nominations of remarkable individuals, and recommending the name of the recipient to the Lt. Governor. I'm proud that this particular recognition is the only one of its kind, anywhere.
Each group I am involved with broadens my own perspective and deepens healthy relationships. I am grateful for that. What a gift that these opportunities are available!