Riding for peace

by Stuart Pike

I have been working with Sheik Abdullah Hatia, the Imam of the Halton Mosque on several projects.

One was organizing Muslim, Christian and community groups to help fill in the gaps when hundreds of government assisted refugees from Syria arrived without some of the basic things they needed.

We also organized a multi-faith festival called “One Burlington” which happened in August, this past summer.

One time, when Abdullah arrived at St. Luke’s for a meeting he walked in with his helmet, and we discovered at that moment that we both ride motorcycles!

We decided that after the festival was over we would organize a multi-faith ride for peace in the fall.

On Saturday, October 21, we met at the Halton Mosque just after their midday prayers, rode to St. Luke’s for a photo op and then continued to Steel Town Garage Co., which is actually an espresso café for motorcyclists, on Barton Street, just around the corner from the Cathedral in Hamilton. The owners, Jeff and Tania, gave us free coffees!

Darwin Allen, Abdullah Hatia, Stuart Pike, Scott McLeod and Marilyn Allen participated in the first ride for peace. Photo: Submitted

Joining us were Darwin and Marilyn Allen of St. Luke’s and Scott McLeod, who is our diocesan resource person for refugee sponsorship. Scott travelled all the way from St. Catharines for the event. Darwin led us back to Burlington on some lovely twisty roads including Old York Road and the aptly named Snake Road.

So there were just the five of us for our first annual Ride for Peace.

Next year we’ll get bigger and would like to invite other faiths to join us.

I’m thinking the twisty road is an analogy for a bit of the journey that Abdullah and I and others in many faith communities have travelled over the last couple of years.

There have been significant bumps in the road even over this past year, starting with a horrendous shooting at the Mosque in Quebec City at the beginning of the year, and the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, just the week before our multi-faith festival.

Abdullah said at the festival that when those wreaking violence are working hard, all people of faith have to work even harder than they are, to show what true faith is really about. That’s what we’ve been working at here in Burlington.

And as for the twisty road, well it’s a lot more fun when shared with friends and travelling on a motorcycle!

The Reverend Canon H. Stuart Pike is Rector of St. Luke’s Burlington.