(Photo fom Metro Newspaper Service)

(Photo fom Metro Newspaper Service)

Group seeks compassionate recognition for Sooke

A local peace advocate group is aiming to get Sooke recognized as a “Compassionate Community”.

The idea came from the Sooke Region Multi-Belief Initiative, which is an all-encompassing group that promotes understanding, kindness, acceptance and inclusiveness, and has a goal of helping social issues in Sooke.

“We thought there was a need to address the spiritual side of life, but not necessarily in the conventional religious sense. There are about 10 of us in the group, and we all come from a real mixture of religious backgrounds,” said Mark Ziegler, a member of the group.

“That’s why we’re called the Multi-Believe Initiative, because regardless of our beliefs, our values all centre around the Golden Rule, to treat others the way you want to be treated, with dignity, equity and respect.”

In order to be recognized, Sooke must submit a Compassionate Action Plan to Charter for Compassion International, based in Bainbridge, Wash.

The action plan includes a list of short and long-term goals that a community as a whole would like to strive towards, such as helping with homelessness, drug addiction, or anything to do with making people’s lives better.

“I believe that Sooke is already there, we have tremendous work being done by over 100 volunteer groups, and our local government, but we feel like we could do even more by having Sooke designated as a Compassionate Community,” said Ziegler.

He added that the goal of the action plan is to bring everyone together, and to have a collective vision for what they would like to accomplish in the community.

Approximately 400 communities around the world have already been recognized.

Ziegler presented the idea Sooke council on June 11, and council supported it.

The Multi-Belief Initiative plans to hold a workshop in the fall to get more people involved, and gain feedback from the community on what they would like to work towards.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to do more, and help solve some bigger, deep-rooted problems in our area that need to be addressed,” said Ziegler.