Wednesday, March 26, 2008

All Religions Are Based On Love And Service: A Multi-Faith Forum On Religious Understanding And Acceptance

All Religions are based on Love and Service: A Multi-faith forum on religious understanding and acceptance.


1. Islam - Almoonir Dewji
2. Judaism - Judy Shapiro, Director, Community Relations - Calgary Jewish Community Council
3. Christianity - Deborah Oggy, Chaplain - Multi-Faith Chaplaincy, Mount Royal College
4. Hindusim - Nallai Nallainayagam, Intstructor - Policy Studies Dept, Mount Royal College

Venue: Mount Royal College - Common Room of Westside Residence (BRB, 1025, 200 Mount Royal Circle)
Date: Thursday, March 27, 2008
Time: 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

2nd Annual Calgary Peace Prize Recipient - His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan Bin Talal

The Consortium for Peace Studies is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2nd annual Calgary Peace Prize His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan Bin Talal of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan will be honoured at a banquet dinner on March 31, 2008 at the Calgary Zoo, where he will also speak to guests about his work to promote interfaith dialogue, international human rights and poverty reduction .

The Calgary Peace Prize is a $5,000 award established by the Consortium for Peace Studies at the University of Calgary in 2006 to highlight Calgary’s contribution to world peace. The prize recognizes outstanding individuals from the global community, whose work has made the world a safer and less violent place. The Consortium for Peace Studies is an organization that builds partnerships with the community in order to further peace research, education and service.

Tickets are now available for purchase at the cost of $150 per person, of which $100 is considered a tax-deductible donation to the Consortium for Peace Studies.

If you have any questions or would like more information about the Calgary Peace Prize Dinner,
please contact Kelly Dowdell, Program Manager at (403) 220-2136 or

His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan Bin Talal

Born in Amman on March 20, 1947, Prince Hassan is the youngest son of Their late Majesties King Talal and Queen Zein El Sharaf, and is the brother of His late Majesty King Hussein. His Royal Highness was officially invested as Crown Prince to the Hashemite Throne of Jordan, in April 1965. Until the changes in succession brought about by His late Majesty King Hussein, in January 1999, he served as the King’s closest political advisor, confidant and deputy, as well as acting as Regent in the King’s absence from the country.

He is the author of seven books, including Islam and Global Dialogue, and is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees and awards, including the forthcoming 2008 Abraham Geiger Award for being a voice for global sustainability, reconciliation and inter-religious understanding.

He is the President Emeritus of the World Conference of Religions for Peace.

Prince Hassan is a frequent public speaker on topics of human rights and international legitimacy, vulnerable groups and poverty alleviation and interfaith dialogue. He is also a prolific contributor to newspapers, journals, magazines and periodicals, and is the author of seven books: A Study on Jerusalem (1979) (English); Palestinian Self-Determination (1981) (English, Arabic); Search for Peace (1984) (English, Arabic); Christianity in the Arab World (1994) (English, Arabic, French, Greek, Spanish, Russian, German, Swedish); Essere Musulmano – Co-authored with Alain Elkann – (2001) (Italian, French, Spanish); To Be A Muslim: Islam Peace and Democracy (English – released 2003); Continuity, Innovation and Change: Selected Essays (2001); In Memory of Faisal I: The Iraqi Question (2003) (Arabic).

Prince Hassan founded the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies, the Arab Youth Forum, the Islamic Scientific Academy, the Hashemite Aid and Relief Agency, the Centre for Educational Development and the Institute for Diplomacy. He serves as chair and member of many international committees and organizations including: President of the Club of Rome (1999 – present); Chairman of the Independent Bureau for Humanitarian Issues; Chairman of the Board for the Center for Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution at the University of Oklahoma International Programs Center; Co-president of the International Tolerance Foundation for Humanities and Social Studies, St. Petersburg (since 2006); International Patron of Rights and Humanity; Commissioner of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission (WMDC); Member of the Board of Directors of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), Washington, D.C. (since 2002); Member of the Trilateral Commission; Member of the International Board of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Prince Hassan is the recipient of 20 Honorary Degrees from education institutions around the world. He also received the inaugural Gandhi/King/Ikeda Community Builders Medal and Torch of Non-violence, the 2003 Rabbi Marc H. Tanenbaum Award for the Advancement of Inter-religious Understanding and the Abu Bakr Al-Siddique Medal of the Organisation of Arab Red Crescent and Red Cross Societies.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Healing Our Stuff Conference - Deer Park United Church

Donna Baker, left, Jan Mitchell, Rev. Jennifer Ferguson, Rev. Tom Melvin, Gail Maximuk and Carmen Andrews are gearing up for the Healing Our Stuff health conference, set for March 14 to 16 Deer Park United Church in southeast Calgary

The following is an article on a conference organized by a couple of my dear friends: Rev. Jennifer Ferguson and Rev. Tom Melvin. I have attended numerous events at Deer Park United Church and have found them very inspiring and stimulating. I always enjoy meeting members of its congregation.

Conference focuses on healing
Church invites Calgarians 'to share our vision'

Graeme Morton
Calgary Herald
Saturday, March 01, 2008

Rev. Jennifer Ferguson has a simple answer to those who'd question why a church should organize a conference on health and healing.

"If we have a lot more 'whole' people walking around out there, it's going to do the world a lot of good," says Ferguson, part of the ministry team at Deer Park United Church and Wholeness Centre, 77 Deerpoint Rd. S.E.

The leadership and congregation of the southeast church is inviting the rest of the city to its Healing Our Stuff conference from March 14 to 16, expanding a style of ministry it has been practising for a decade.

"If we are whole in ourselves, then the beneficial effects fan out like ripples when a pebble is dropped into a pond," adds Ferguson.

"We can positively impact the people we come in contact with on a daily basis. This conference is our gift to the rest of the city."

Healing Our Stuff kicks off March 14 with a keynote talk by Kersti Sunne Biro, a Montreal-based Buddhist mindfulness meditation practitioner and life coach, who will also speak during Deer Park's Sunday morning worship.

Saturday, March 15, will be taken up with a choice of 16 workshops, including sacred dance, healing through humour and forgiveness, drumming and singing, reiki, Himalayan yoga, healing through the mandala and building healthy boundaries. One-0n-one counselling sessions, including past life regression and spiritual direction, will also be available.

A number of the workshop leaders are church members, showing the extent to which the philosophy of pursuing physical, mental and spiritual wholeness has taken root at Deer Park in the last 10 years.

It's one of the main reasons new members are drawn to the church.

"We were church-shopping. In the past, my experience with religion was basically hearing, 'Do this, but don't do that,' " says Carmen Andrews.

"But I really wanted to have the spiritual element in the life of our family. This place had a great feeling of being part of the community," she adds.

The church's foyer features a colourful wheel that highlights Deer Park's seven-part ministry focus on health and healing, spiritual transformation, worship and the arts, community, social justice and outreach, resource sharing and nurturing gifts and growth in members.

Ferguson says those seven elements are firmly rooted in Christ's journey.

"Jesus was a healer, but he was also an advocate for social justice and he had this talent for discovering the gifts in his followers," Ferguson says.

She adds Deer Park's emphasis on spiritual wholeness and holistic health tests some people's idea of what a faith community should look like.

"We feel like we have caught a vision of how a church can be relevant to the world and these times," Ferguson says.

"We've been doing this for years. With this conference, we're opening our doors and inviting everyone to share our vision."

Despite Calgary's reputation as a career-driven, workaholic town, Deer Park member Bryon Delarue is still convinced "a lot of people are looking for wholeness in their 60-hour work weeks.

"Our mission and message to those people is that if you're searching for wholeness in your life, maybe you can start your journey here," adds Delarue.

Jan Mitchell says while she still goes to her doctor, she's part of a growing movement of people who are also taking responsibility for their own physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.

"The topics for the workshop sessions are not flavour-of-the-month, pop culture fads," Mitchell says. "They are drawn from ancient spiritual traditions and wisdom."

More information on the conference is available at