Re-Opening Places of Worship

Statement from ICP re: Phase 2 Re-Opening of Places of Worship this Friday June 12th.

We are living in difficult times. Religious community is built around gathering together in prayer, ritual, and relationship. During this Covid-19 pandemic, we are unable to do these things together in the ways to which we are accustomed. Our Peel faith communities have found new ways to innovate and create community, reaching out virtually during this time to engage and support our members and community under the social distancing guidelines.

The Interfaith Council of Peel recognizes that the emergency measures have taken a significant toll on our places of worship and congregations and that faith communities yearn to gather in person. As measures are changing and places of worship have been permitted to begin opening at 30% capacity effective this Friday June 12, 2020, we acknowledge those who celebrate the change but reaffirm the need for patience and caution as we each consider plans for reopening our in-person faith and communal functions. While we yearn for connection and the chance to worship together, and understand and respect Premier Ford’s announcement transitioning Ontario towards the easing of restrictions, COVID-19 remains a considerable threat. It is the health, safety, and well-being of our communities and neighbors that motivate us towards making decisions that will care for and protect one another.

We are diverse in our worship and in our institutions. Each institution is responsible for its due diligence and should proceed at its own pace keeping in mind liability, equity and public health directives. In considering reopening and return to our holy spaces, we must be guided by the recommendations of public health officials. We must approach the complicated process of regathering in our houses of worship with abundant caution and intention. The health of those we serve, support, employ and engage is the highest of priorities. We should seek expert advice, ensure that we adhere to prevention practices of physical distancing, hand washing, wearing of masks and sanitization of common surfaces and register everyone visiting our houses of worship for the purpose of contact tracing in case of an outbreak.

We ask all faith communities to remember one other in your thoughts and prayers hoping that we ride out this pandemic with minimal impact.

Peace and Blessings to everyone.

Rabbi Audrey Pollack- Chair, ICP
Urz Heer- Co-Chair, ICP
Steering Committee, ICP

Calls for Prayers

The letter of support sent by ICP to the Mayor’s Office May 2020 over the Council’s decision to allow the broadcast of calls to prayers during Ramadan.

Dear Mayor Bonnie Crombie,

The Interfaith Council of Peel supports the City of Mississauga’s resolution to approve the broadcast of calls for prayers to all faiths in the city. In this pandemic time, so much has been taken from us, and especially from communities of faith who yearn to gather not only for worship and celebration, but also to do good work in our neighbourhoods and our city, and to support one another in both good and challenging times.  Rather than thinking of this simple action as divisive, or favouring one group over another, may it be a reminder that members of our community are deeply missing each other, that our lives personally and collectively have changed.  May this call be a reminder to take just a few moments to think of those who cannot gather: celebrating families and grieving families, friends and social groups, even sports teams – and faith communities; to be thankful for healthcare workers, police, fire and EMT’s, and people on the front lines, for workers who are performing essential roles to keep us safe and to keep our communities going; to pray for courage for our leaders who are making hard decisions; to pray for people who face hate and discrimination brought on by fear and anger.  Each faith has ways that outwardly inspire and encourage their congregations and we are in support of the City and Mayor’s efforts especially in this very challenging time to enable faith communities and faith leaders to reach out and support our diverse community and bring us together in a spirit of hope and comfort. 

The Interfaith Council of Peel

Chair: Rabbi Audrey Pollack, Solel Congregation of Mississauga

Co-Chair:Urz Heer, Canadian Sufi Centre

Rowshan Shams, The Bahai Community of Mississauga

Wilson Yau, Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple

Rev. Joanne Hedge, Applewood United Church

Pastor Richard Edwards, Mt.Zion House of Praise

Varsha Naik, Hindu Faith Community
Arliene Botnick, Solel Congregation of Mississauga

Rabia Khedr, Muslim Council of Peel

Amtul Ahmad, Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat

Seema Khan, ISNA Canada

Harmanpreet Singh, Sikh Faith Community

Fred Mirza, Zoroastrian Society of Ontario

Rev. Fiona Heath, Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga

Andrea Rowe – Greening Sacred Spaces Peel-Halton

Ashley Bigda, Community Relations PDSB

Michelle McLeish, Region of Peel Human Services & Community Relations

Helping the Vulnerable

ICP member ISNA is providing relief kits and services to help the vulnerable during COVID-19.   We are helping those who are unable to leave home for whatever reason – simply register them online and our team will contact tem and deliver the essential supplies to their doorstep.  In addition to food boxes we can provide hygiene kits, prescription & medication runs and other small services.

ISNA is working in collaboration with ten other organizations and can deliver services across many cities including Mississauga, Oakville, Brampton, Milton, Burlington, Etobicoke and Toronto.