Sacred site promotes understanding of culture and spirituality

By: Diane Ell April, 2011

An impeccable view of a peaceful Saskatchewan valley, a white bolder, blue sky and quiet time is all it takes to enjoy the sacred site established in the province through the energies of Multi-Faith Saskatchewan.

Beginning back in 2007, Multi-Faith Saskatchewan partnered with the Craik Sustainable Living Project to develop the “designated sacred space project” located on land near the Craik Eco-Centre that overlooks Arm River Valley. The Sacred Space project, officially dedicated in October 2010, is designed to promote unity and peace in the community and learning to respect and appreciate other people, as well as sustainable living.

The official public opening of the site will take place on July 30, 2011.

“The sacred space promotes culture and faith, but not a particular faith,” says Krishan Kapila, the project’s coordinator and past-president of Multi-Faith Saskatchewan, “A spiritual thread is binding us all. We may not see it, but we are all connected.”

Many different faith groups, including First Nations, Baha’i, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Unitarians, Jainism and Sikhism were involved in the development of Sacred Site. “Each of us has beliefs. Many of us believe in a Creator,” explains Kapila, “we may worship in different ways, but we are worshipping the one God or Creator, known by different names.” The Sacred Site exists to remind people that even with different Gods, we are all part of humanity.

Work continues to enhance the Sacred Site and promote a shared vision. Visitors can walk around a circular path and read plaques quoting the ‘golden rules’ of various faiths. Other monuments contain spiritual quotes that speak to the care of the Earth.

Kapila hopes the site will be a place for learning, reflection and prayer.

This past year, Multi-Faith Saskatchewan partnered with the Saskatchewan Art Education Collective to develop a visual art contest and exhibition for schools. Students were asked to provide works of art that represented their faiths and conveyed the message of mutual respect and appreciation. Three winners were selected from over 30 high quality entries. Funding for this project was provided by the B’nai Brith, Saskatoon Chapter. Plans are underway to expand this program into more Saskatchewan schools in the upcoming year.

There is no question that the many different faiths practiced in Saskatchewan help shape people’s culture and the culture of communities. Multi-faith Saskatchewan works to promote understanding, appreciation and acceptance of diverse faith groups living in the province. Through its work, the organization also hopes to eliminate prejudices which hinder the development of a just, peaceful and harmonious society.

For its work to promote multicultural understanding, the Sacred Site Project received funding from Multicultural Initiatives Fund and the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, supported by Saskatchewan Lotteries Trust Fund for Sport, Culture and Recreation.

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