Canada ward building interfaith bridges

By Michael H. Clifton

Published: Sunday, Jan. 2 2011 6:00 a.m. MST

KITCHNER, Ontario — The Kitchener Second Ward opened its doors to members of various faith communities on Nov. 14 as part of the "Building Bridges" program of Interfaith Grand River — the local interfaith association, which includes representation from the Kitchener Ontario Stake high council.

IGR's "Building Bridges" program provides opportunities for people of all faiths within the Waterloo Region of Ontario to learn more about one another's traditions by visiting each other's places of worship. Organized by a committee as diverse as the community, the goals of the program are to correct misperceptions, build bridges of understanding, and encourage acceptance and appreciation of others' beliefs and ways of living.

With the approval of stake President James A. McBride, Bishop Ed Nabrotzky invited the program's participants to attend a sacrament meeting, where the bishop was to be the concluding speaker. After the meeting, the visitors were invited to join the bishop, the ward mission leader, full-time missionaries and the stake director of public affairs for some refreshments and conversation about the LDS Church, which ranged from youth programs to the Plan of Salvation. The visitors were also given a tour of the building.

The attendees included some members of the local Unitarian congregation (one of whom had been a Lutheran minister), a female Jewish lay-rabbi, a recent graduate of a master's degree program in Catholic Thought, and a fervent Pentecostal Christian.

Bishop Nabrotzky gave each participant a booklet outlining the basic beliefs and organization of the church prepared by the stake public affairs council, a copy of the video, "Joseph Smith in Upper Canada" and a Book of Mormon.

Michael H. Clifton is the director of public affairs for the Kitchener Ontario Stake.

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