soutenir la religion dans une société pluraliste et dans la vie publique canadienne

Do Young People Care about Interfaith Work?

On February 23, 2017, young people aged 18-35 years old joined members of the Canadian Interfaith Conversation at the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) offices in Toronto for a meal and time of discussion.  Older members of the Conversation had invited younger people to join the gathering that evening to share their thoughts about how interfaith work related to their generation.

The meeting room was filled with twice as many people as usual, as young adults representing various religious traditions, including Baha’i, Islam, Judaism, Christianity and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, mingled with each other and the older members during dinner.  After supper, the group split off into three different discussion groups.  Each group tackled a different question about the Conversation’s Charter Vision and its relevance to Millennials.

The participants then re-gathered to discuss what they had learned from each other.  They shared everything from observations on the different ways older people and younger people view interfaith gatherings (the older generation was more interested in finding common ground through discussion, and the younger generation more inspired by joint action), to thoughts on how to raise awareness about interfaith work (through social media or through a greater interfaith presence at public events).  Younger participants noted that unlike previous generations, their generation found it easy to mingle with and befriend people of different faiths.

The evening bridged the divide not only between religious groups but also between generations, as people from many different walks of life came together to reflect and learn about each other’s beliefs and values.  The importance of learning from each other was another theme in the discussion.  A younger participant who was Jewish said, “I recite the Sh’ma every night before bed, but I don’t talk about that to others.  Maybe I should?"

Contributed by Rachel Baarda, social media coordinator for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.  She participated in the discussion as a "younger person."