I am pleased to share the following article about HH Aga Khan's AKF Foundation
AKF is one of the most organized and, for matters of bringing about some cohesiveness to faith-based influence, is the Aga Khan Foundation. Among other things, the AKF is developing a partnership with the federal government, to turn the former war museum, located almost within eyesight of my press gallery perch in the Parliament Buildings, into a centre for the advancement and understanding of religious pluralism.
OttawaWatch: An event to ponder
By Lloyd Mackey
Having been involved in writing about The Hill for almost ten years, I have become aware of the many Christian groups that cluster around the political institutions here, all with the objective of providing some kind of influence on the body politic.
Increasingly, several people close to the Hill scene have been wondering if there might be a way of bringing representatives of these groups together for a day or two, to get to know each other better. In addition, some are wondering about providing, within such an event, a cohesive opportunity to present a common front to public servants, Christian leaders in the city, politicians and diplomats.
One day, while contemplating this possibility, I jotted down the names of about three dozen groups that I encounter in and around Parliament Hill. This list is not comprehensive, by any means, and is purposely presented in no particular order, to illustrate the stream-of-consciousness way by which it came together.
Here it is, as I composed it, several months ago, while letting compassionate professionals help God to make my heart work better:
Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
Mennonite Central Committee
Laurentian Leadership Centre (Trinity Western University)
Citizens for Public Justice
Work Research Foundation
National Prayer Breakfast
Christian Embassy (Campus Crusade for Christ)
Institute for Family and Marriage Canada (Focus on the Family)
Habitat for Humanity
Inter-Church Committee for Corrections and Justice
Prison Fellowship Canada
National House of Prayer
Vote Marriage Canada
Enshrine Marriage Canada
Defend Marriage Canada
Campaign Life Canada
Centre for Cultural Renewal
Institute for Canadian Values
Nation at Prayer
World Vision Canada
Watchmen for the Nations
Ottawa Christian Leadership Centre
One Way Ministries
Canadian National Christian Foundation
Christian Business Ministries Canada
Tyndale University College and Seminary
Redeemer University College
Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship
Public Service Christian Fellowship
Military Christian Fellowship
Christian Info Canada
All of these groups, in one way or another, project those parts of the Christian faith that can roughly be described as evangelical, charismatic, socially conservative and/or reformed.
In addition, my mind wandered toward the naming of several groups which might have some points in common with some of the above groups, but spring from some other part of the Christian spectrum. I will name them, without expressing any view as to what particular stripe of Christianity they might represent, leaving it to OttawaWatch readers to make their own assumptions.
Those particular groups are:
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
Canadian Council of Churches
Initiatives for Change (formerly Moral Rearmament)
Metropolitan Community Churches
Community of Christ (formerly Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ, Latter Day Saints)
Church of Jesus Christ, Latter Day Saints
Again, in addition, one could point to the hundreds of Protestant and Catholic churches located in the Ottawa/Outaouais area, working in English, French and about 30 other languages.
Each of those other groupings, as well as the increasing number of organizations and movements coming from other non-Christian faith backgrounds, have their own equivalent spinoffs providing a range of unique faith/political interfaces.
For example, one of the most organized and, for matters of bringing about some cohesiveness to faith-based influence, is the Aga Khan Foundation. Among other things, the AKF is developing a partnership with the federal government, to turn the former war museum, located almost within eyesight of my press gallery perch in the Parliament Buildings, into a centre for the advancement and understanding of religious pluralism.
(It would actually be within direct eyesight, if it was not blocked by the sleek glassy facade of the National Gallery, parked beside the intersection of the Rideau Canal and Ottawa River.)
* * *
At this point, I am not sure what will happen with respect to bringing together an event that will facilitate the goals of a forum and showcase for the three dozen or so groups. I know there is a resonance among a fair number of Christian leaders to see such a thing develop.
My hope would be that something like this could be two-tiered: an actual event, held close to The Hill, and some communication vehicle that could plug Christian leaders across the country into what is happening here -- and vice versa.
From time to time, over the next couple of months, I will try to report progress or otherwise on this event idea. And I would appreciate feedback from readers who might have some ideas on how to make this a reality.
* * *
Lloyd Mackey is a member of the Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery in Ottawa and author of Stephen Harper: The Case for Collaborative Governance (ECW Press, 2006). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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We have a monumental task to repair the World, and we will do our part in working towards a World of co-existence, one person at a time. We are committed, and now help us God. Amen.
Our Mission is driven by the Qur'an, Al-Hujurat, Surah 49:13: "O mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. The noblest of you, in sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Allah Knows and is Aware."
Our Mission is to work for a world of co-existence through inclusiveness and participation. As a member of diverse family of faiths, our efforts will be directed towards justice and equity to attain peace for the humankind with a firm grounding in commonly held values. We cannot have advantages at the cost of others. Such benefits are temporary and deleterious to lasting peace. We believe what is good for Muslims has got to be good for the world, and vice versa, to sustain it.
Indeed we aspire to promote goodwill amongst people of different affiliations, regardless of their faith, gender, race, nationality, culture or any other uniqueness blessed by the creator.
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