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Interactive peace vigil planned for South Surrey Oct. 26

‘People are holding a lot of grief’

A vigil for those “holding grief for the current state of affairs in the Middle East” is set for Thursday evening (Oct. 26) at the South Surrey Recreation & Arts Centre.

Described as an “interactive community dialogue,” organizers say it is an opportunity to gather with, and get to know, neighbours and friends.

“We’re going to talk about that we’re all holding grief and gratitude for our community – in one hand grief, in the other hand gratitude,” said event facilitator Rebecca Tobias, a member of the Peninsula Interfaith Outreach Group.

Attendees will be invited to meditate on and express their greatest need; take in peaceful images of the Holy Land; join in prayer; and write on paper doves what they see for the community’s future.

Tobias said there will also be a chant by Baha’i members, a hymn from the Mormon church and more.

The event, she added, is funded by a grant from Alex House.

The gathering follows a ‘Pray for Israel’ event held Oct. 15 at Beecher Place, where expected attendance more than doubled following the vandalism and egging of the home of Rabbi Falik Schtroks.

READ MORE: South Surrey rabbi’s home targeted with anti-Semitic egging, vandalism

READ ALSO: Live updates Israel escalates its bombardment in the Gaza Strip

That prayer event included speeches and song, as well as a candle-lighting “to mourn the lives that we lost” in the ongoing conflict.

The following Thursday (Oct. 19), members of the Peninsula Interfaith Outreach Group recorded a song of love and peace for Schtroks and the local Jewish community, and St. Marks Anglican and Peninsula United churches issued a joint statement regarding the incident and war:

“As Christians who seek to follow the one we call the Prince of Peace, we speak out against all acts of violence and hate wherever they occur, including the recent vandalism of a Rabbi’s home in the Ocean Park neighbourhood. We condemn anti-semitism in all its forms. Together with our Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Baha’i sisters and brothers on the Semiahmoo peninsula, we lift up a vision of a world marked by peace, justice, and dignity for all.”

South Surrey-White Rock MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay said Friday (Oct. 20) that she is “absolutely” hearing from community members concerned about what happened at the rabbi’s home and the potential for further incidents.

“People come to Canada to create a peaceful and better life for themselves and their families,” Findlay said.

She encouraged anyone with concerns to contact her office at 604-542-9495.

The Oct. 26 vigil is open to anyone, regardless of age or beliefs. The rec centre is located at 14601 20 Ave.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. To RSVP, please visit

Tracy Holmes

About the Author: Tracy Holmes

Tracy Holmes has been a reporter with Peace Arch News since 1997.
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