Thoughtful people throughout the ages have asked, “how can we create peace on Earth if we don’t know each other?” Jesus and other prophets have advised us to “love thy neighbour as thyself”. Yet in the busy cities of the modern world, many people live as strangers in their own neighbourhoods. Cell phones and computer-based social media cannot replace the heart-nourishing interactions of real relationships.

 

Avalon encourages our community membership to step outside of the usual comfort zones. Discover the fun and fulfillment of socializing with people from other parts of the world and lending a hand to those in need. Whether helping a new immigrant learn more English or baking some fresh bread for the homeless person on the corner, there are infinite ways of expanding our hearts in service and increasing our compassion by “walking in the shoes of another”. As the Sufi poet Rumi revealed, “Say whom I am, say I am You.”

 

Avalon seeks to promote intercultural understanding and harmony in our own region by organizing tours and discussions with different places of worship and spiritual organizations. We create exciting educational opportunities with faith groups willing to share their cultural history and build community friendships without proselytizing. While learning about the unique aspects of each group, we also discover our unity and what we all have in common.

 

As part of the Avalon SHIFT approach, we encourage our interfaith fellowship to engage in actions of solidarity, finding creative ways to work together to build a better society and restore the earth's environment. Avalon’s Love in Action Initiative will be guided by the interfaith representatives of our Peacemaker’s Guild. These inspiring spiritual leaders will encourage their own assemblies to actively eliminate racism, volunteer in worthy causes and join with other cultural groups in organizing special events.

 

Avalon welcomes invitations from Okanagan churches, temples, mosques and synagogues willing to engage with our interfaith tour group. Tour participation is on a donation basis, with funds divided between Avalon’s operational costs and making an offering of thanks to our hosts. As cross-cultural dialogue and friendships develop, we will explore the potential to work together towards creating the World Centre vision for an interfaith centre and retreat sanctuaries. We may also collaborate with other organizations that have intercultural or social outreach missions, and lead educational journeys to sacred heritage sites internationally.

 

Please contact the Avalon office if you would like to be a tour participant or host group, or if your organization wishes to partner with our Interfaith Love in Action Initiative. We are hoping to commence Interfaith Tours from October 2012 onwards.