We write to you on the eve of the 150th anniversary of Confederation to affirm the role of faith in the formation of Canada in its past, today, and in future generations to come.
We, delegates of the Faith in Canada 150 Millennial Summit, have taken hold of the opportunity that 2017 has provided to reflect on the role that faith communities and individuals of differing faith traditions have had on the formation of our nation.
We, young millennial leaders of faith, have devoted the days preceding this significant anniversary for our country to contend with questions that we feel merit consideration in the formation of the next 150 years of Canadian history:
What is the public square and who inhabits it?
Can faith be truly public?
Can a common life be built based on genuine disagreement?
What do religious communities contribute towards the formation of the common good?
How do we demonstrate through action the link between friendship and faith to our nonreligious peers?
WE HEREBY AFFIRM:
For many centuries, faith has shaped the human landscape of Canada. It has shaped how we live our lives; how we relate to our neighbours; how we fulfill our social responsibilities; and, how we share a common life together as Canadians.
We take this opportunity today to affirm our hope that Canada’s next generation of faithful leaders will move beyond tolerance to cultivate a more vibrant expression of pluralism, founded in the resolution to live peaceably in diversity. Such genuine pluralism admits both public and private expressions of faith even when our beliefs differ from one another and disagree. We affirm that we desire a genuine respect for the inherent dignity of the human person regardless of what faith or non-religious belief they profess. It is our hope that public expressions of faith will contribute to a renewed commitment to cultivating a vibrant, pluralist, Canadian society. Furthermore, we hope that it will encourage a renewed acceptance of the continuing role of faith within Canadian public life.
1. To celebrate the role of faith in the formation of our rich and diverse culture.
2. To remind Canadians of the contributions religious faith has made to our common life.
3. To tell stories about the role of faith from our past that resonate through our present and toward our future.
4. To encourage and inspire communities of faith to greater participation in and celebration of Canadian life.
5. To help build a network of leaders across private and public, religious and secular institutions who recognize and seek to nurture the place of faith in our life together.
WE WILL AFFIRM AND CHAMPION the role of faith in our common life of Canadians in the spirit of friendship, ensuring that individuals and communities of faith retain an active role in the formation of the spirit and life of this nation.
This open letter was written and affirmed at the Faith in Canada 150 Millennial Summit at the Ottawa Offices of Cardus, Canada’s faith based think tank, June 30, 2017.
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