Who We Are


 

Founded in 1972, the Multifaith Action Society (MAS) is a Canadian registered non-profit charitable organization dedicated to the facilitation of interfaith education and dialogue. For over forty years, MAS has worked to build bridges between the myriad cultural and spiritual communities that characterize British Columbia, and has collaborated on a wide variety of public education campaigns and initiatives that have affected positive social change while raising awareness of multicultural issues.


Specifically, the Multifaith Action Society:

  • Organizes community events designed to foster dialogue and understanding amongst people of different spiritual and cultural backgrounds, to further interfaith education, or to celebrate diversity. These events have ranged from intimate goodwill interfaith prayers to large-scale, multi-day conferences.
  • Provides information and resources about world religions to the community, primarily through the annual production and distribution of the Multifaith Calendar, a thoroughly-researched compendium of nearly 500 spiritual events and observances from 14 of the world's leading religions. 30,000 copies of the Multifaith Calendar are printed and distributed to homes, workplaces, and public institutions throughout North America each year.
  • Collaborates with other local organizations and institutions to plan and carry out initiatives that enrich community life and help to alleviate common social issues such as food insecurity, homelessness and drug abuse. For example, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, which was co-founded by members of MAS, presently provides assistance to 28,000 people suffering from food insecurity each week.
  • Acts in an advisory capacity with regards to fostering welcoming workplaces and public spaces or mediating issues of religious sensitivity. In 2009-2010, for example, the Society helped to facilitate a dialogue between local faith communities and the RCMP Integrated Security Unit responsible for planning and implementing security policy for the 2010 Winter Olympics. As a result, several landmark policy accommodations were developed to help make the Olympic venues more welcoming for people of faith.
  • Helps to integrate newcomers to Canada/British Columbia by connecting them with local immigration organizations, social assistance groups, and welcoming spiritual communities
  • Acts as a voice for interfaith tolerance and understanding in the local and national media
  • Supports other local organizations and institutions in carrying out initiatives that align with MAS' vision and mission to promote interfaith dialogue and understanding in the community

At its heart, MAS' work is about educating the public about world religions and their potential to help nurture global peace and harmony. In a country as diverse as Canada, a positive and comprehensive spiritual awareness plays an essential role in creating and maintaining a healthy, peaceful, and co-creative society. As Canada’s oldest interfaith organization, MAS has engendered and fostered this spiritual awareness for over forty years, and has played an integral role in creating a space in British Columbia where over 1 million immigrants can live fruitful and productive lives, free from fear of violence and persecution.


MAS Board of Directors

 

 

 

Connie Waterman, secretary. Connie is a long-time member of the Bahá’í Faith, serving as an elected member of the Local Spiritual Assembly in the various communities she has lived in. She is a past member of the Surrey Interfaith Council and the Global Clergy Association. She is currently an assistant to a Bahá’í advisory board and the secretary of the Comox Bahá’í community. She studied Kinesiology at Simon Fraser University is retired from a career as a fitness and wellness consultant.

 

 

 

Bijan Adlparvar, Vice-President. Bijan is a Science Instructor with a Master of Education degree from University of Victoria. He is a member of the Baha'i community of Vancouver and has served various Baha'i institutions and communities in Venezuela and Canada. As a Baha'i, Bijan believes in and works towards promoting peace and harmony among all the races, nationalities, and belief systems of the world. 

 

 

Shirly Berelowitz, Director. Born and raised in Argentina, Shirly moved to Vancouver almost 30 years ago after completing her studies in clinical psychology. Shirly is the Associate Director, External Affairs for CIJA Pacific Region, CIJA PR. She brings 20 years’ experience in building community relations, stakeholder engagement, programming, and outreach, working closely with the local Jewish community.

 

 

 

Rachel Jones, Director. Rachel Jones grew up in a Mennonite family, spent a month at a Zen Buddhist monastery, and worked for 1.5 years at an Interfaith spiritual retreat center. She is currently studying at the Vancouver School of Theology and serving as a spiritual health intern at St. Paul's Hospital. Rachel holds an MS in Journalism from Columbia University and a BA in Sociology and Art from Lewis & Clark College.

 

 

 

Acharya S.P. Dwivedi, Treasurer. Acharya holds three Degree of Master of Arts. He taught in Canadian University. His seven books of poetry and five anthologies are in circulation. He has organized and participated in more than 250 local, national, and international conferences on interfaith, environment, literature, and peace. He is the first Canadian who has been appointed as a “Peace Ambassador” by the Parliament of the World’s Religions.

 

 

 

Cyndy Roomy, Director. Cyndy is a Buddhist and believes in sharing all paths to the spiritual world. Before retiring, she had a career as a medical social worker and administrator. She has a Masters in Psychology from Columbia University in NYC and a Masters in Buddhist studies. “May the Society fulfil the longing of all faiths to better the world through harmonious respect.”

 

 

 

Rev. Aneeta Devit Saroop, Director. Rev. Saroop is the pastor for Spirit of Life Lutheran Church. She earned an MDiv at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon and studied English Literature and Sociology at the University of Victoria. She is currently a DMin Canditate studying Contextual and Practical Theology at the Saskatoon Theological Union. She serves on the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s Task Force for Addressing Racism, White Supremacy and Issues of Racial Injustice.

 

 

Rev. Susan Kerr, Director. Rev. Susan, a minister with the Church of Scientology of BC, born in Victoria, BC, attended the University of Victoria. Based in the Vancouver lower mainland, she's actively engaged in interfaith efforts locally and globally. Over decades, she's championed human rights, including freedom of religion and women’s rights, and has been involved in various initiatives addressing oppressed areas. Susan has also contributed to drug education, mental patients’ rights.


 Staff

 



Canadian Charitable Registration Number: 12221 4505 RR0001

BC Society Incorporation Number: S-10588


"He who is different from me does not impoverish me - he enriches me. Our unity is constituted in something higher than ourselves - in Man... for no man seeks to hear his own echo, or to find his reflection in the glass." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery