- Faith communities provide much more than just religious programs for their own adherents.
- Faith communities in Canada are active contributors to the common good, to the development of individual and group meaning, conscience, and ethics, and to inclusive communal bonds.
- Faith communities provide social, recreational and artistic programs and services to everyone in the surrounding community, either directly or by supporting other organizations.
The Cardus Religious Freedom Institute’s Diakonia Project presents a series of eight different faith-based initiatives from different regions of the country meeting different social and economic challenges. The Greek word diakonia means the act of being called to serve. These initiatives show how Canadians of faith serve others and in so doing help to restore, sustain, and build Canadian communities.
These Canadians, our neighbours, do not undertake this work for the good of their own faith group, but for the good and the life of all. In most cases they are volunteers engaged in efforts that receive little to no government or corporate funding. When asked why he is involved in one such initiative, a volunteer said “because my deep faith calls me to do so.”
Through the Diakonia Project the impactful work of these eight initiatives is revealed through profiles authored by people directly involved and through more in-depth case studies by Cardus writers. Together they reveal what these initiatives are, who is involved in them, and why do they do what they do.
Often religious freedom is confused in our present day with the freedom to worship. While the ability to worship in peace and security is a core element of religious freedom fully lived it is not the only one. The Diakonia Project highlights that religious freedom is also the freedom to live out one’s deepest held beliefs through concrete actions that promote the common good.