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Rev. John Pentland, lead minister at Kensington’s Hillhurst United Church, is chair of this year’s interfaith steering committee for Harmony Week. He sees a great opportunity in the changes brought about due to the current pandemic.
“We are doing the week online, which is not a bad thing in my mind. During this pandemic, the way of connecting with people online has been great for the religious communities because our reach is wider and further and larger,” said Pentland.
“The way the week is set up, with a variety of speakers, we will be online for all of it. The theme of Harmony Week is looking at what we have in common across the religious communities as well as what are our differences.”
“We are not all supposed to be the same. We are actually distinct, but we need to honour the distinctiveness of each of the different traditions,” he added.
Pentland believes the ability to take part in any or all of the workshops and debates will allow Calgarians to be involved without the need of traveling to and from events. Additionally, the challenge everyone has faced because of COVID 19 in the last year has already forged a bond of shared experience.
“It will be easy to click a button and not have to drive half an hour to get there and half an hour home, so we expect the numbers will be bigger than normal. Plus, the awareness is so much deeper now. We are living in tentative times and it requires we have a deeper understanding of each other and our differences,” he said.