Donavon Reierson (left) and Surinderpal Rathor are inviting the community to attend a World Religion Day celebration on Sunday, Jan. 19 at Central Cariboo Arts Centre from 2 to 4 p.m. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Organizers invite community to World Religion Day celebration in Williams Lake

Originating in 1950 it is marked around the world every third Sunday in January

In the spirit of promoting understanding, a World Religion Day celebration is planned for Sunday, Jan. 19, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Central Cariboo Arts Centre.

Former city councillor Surinderpal Rathor who is Sikh and Donavon Reierson who is Baha’i have helped organize the event and said the intent is to bring people together so they can learn from one another first hand.

“In the whole world, particularly in the Middle East and the western world, tensions are high,” Rathor said.

“Rather than settling issues on the battle field, the problems can be solved by learning about each other and why we are who we are.”

Rathor said there will be representatives from various faith traditions including Baha’i, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian and First Nations.

Reierson said people attending will talk about what their faith has done for them and how they live and practice it.

“Not so much the grand principles but how it affects them in their day-to-day life.”

World Religion Day was started by American members of the Baha’i faith in 1950 and has grown throughout the world.

Reierson said events such as these help break down stereotypes and stigmas.

“One of the things we tend to do is hear a name of a religion and don’t put a face to it,” he said.

“I’m hoping it’s a chance for us to get together, break down barriers and see the commonalities.”

There will be some light refreshments and snacks provided.

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