The City of Parksville, B.C. signs the Charter for Compassion
by Ed Lewis
Over the past few months, the Rev. Andrew Twiddy, rector of St. Edmund’s Church in Parksville has been instrumental in getting the city of Parksville to become the first Compassionate City on Vancouver Island.
The Charter of Compassion has grown out of the work by Karen Armstrong and has become a movement around the world. ‘The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.’
While being promoted by the churches in the area, Twiddy has explained to various councils that the Charter is non-religious and non-partisan, yet itis basically the ‘Golden Rule’ found in every major religion– ‘do unto others as you wouldhave them do unto you.’
For Twiddy, the Charter call on all people to be more compassionate in their daily living in public life, schools, businesses, social groups, and all their encounters with other people. Twiddy made a presentation to Parksville City council on August 20 regarding the Charter for Compassion. In response city council voted unanimously to affirm the Charter and support the campaign inquiry that Twiddy made for Parksville to be certified as a Compassionate City under the Campaign for Compassionate Cities.
On August 28, Twiddy made a similar presentation to the Regional District Board of Nanaimo, covering the mid-island area from Cedar to Deep Bay (population 140,000), and that board also affirmed the Charter with the chair signing on behalf of the board. He has also met with the mayor of Qualicum Beach, and will be speaking to the council of Qualicum Beach at their meeting at the begin-ning of October.
Shirley Murray (in New Zealand) has produced the song ‘Where Does Compassion Start?’ that is being used as the international theme for the
Charter. Ron Klusmeier, music director at St. Edmunds has written the music score for the song.
The full text of the Charter and information about the movement to create Compassionate cities can be foundat the website: http://charterforcompassion.org.