On Thursday, November 14th, residents gathered at the St Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre for an evening sharing and learning from a few local religious leaders.

The STELIP team wanted their guests to get a deeper look into the evenings featured cultures so to kick off the evening, guests shared a ‘Unity Plate’ meal made by talented local chefs. Tikka Tomato provided an array of delicious curried vegetable dishes along with Puri (an unleavened deep-fried bread) to represent our Hindu faith. To represent the Islam faith, all the way from the edge of Elgin County in Port Glasgow, Take A Bite brought tabbouleh salad with savoury seasoned chicken, falafels and tzatziki and tahini sauces. To finish the plate for the Mennonite representation, guests enjoyed vereniki with cottage cheese topped with traditional “schmaundt fat” sauce.

Opening the presentations, Pandit Doobay and Pandit Tiwari from the Hindu Cultural Centre of London slowed the room with a brief Om chant meditation followed by an informative presentation into the origins of the Hindu culture. Eddy Rempel from Mennonite Community Services (MCS) provided an in-depth look into the early European history that formed the Mennonite faith we see today in our community. Imam Tawakkal from the Muslim Resource Centre for Social Support and Integration (MRCSSI) shared insights into the Islam faith and the growing Muslim population in our area.

A speaker with a microphone presents in front of a crowd.

One guest commented, “beautiful educational evening, speakers were all dynamic and well-spoken” and another said “I really felt the warmth from the speakers. It makes me want to explore them more.”

All speakers came together for a Q&A portion to finish off the evening. Guests were able to have their questions answered by one, or all of the leaders.

A panel with four speakers, each representing a different faith. Some are dressed in traditional clothes.

“The more we all know the more understanding we have of each other.”

STELIP is eager to continue these Conversation events throughout the year and encourages residents to reach out if they have any topic suggestions for future events.