September 2019: Opening Ourselves to Awe and Wonder

When was the last time you experienced a sense of wonder? When did you last sit in awe at the world around you? Do you sit and contemplate the mysteries of the Universe, of a God beyond complete understanding? It is said that awe-inspired feelings change us and the way we see life, imbuing us with a more humble perspective of ourselves and others. Wonder allows us to attune to the common humanity we share with all people and the threads that weave all parts of creation together.

Research also suggest that we, in the West, are awe-deprived; that our bodies, faith, and compassion suffer as a result. This wonder mal-nourishment makes us more individualistic, more self-focused, more materialistic and less connected to others. The anti-dote, they suggest, is an active participation in seeking out everyday awe. What takes your breath away? What makes the hairs on your neck stand up straight? For what do you mouth the words thank you?

Perhaps it is time to reenter the awe-inspiring world of childhood where everything is a miracle. Maybe it is time to rethink our spiritual practices - our very lives - to make this possible.

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March is for Pilgrimage...

It’s all about the journey, not the destination…right? That is what we hear, but how do we do this journey well? Can we, by changing our outlook on life, change the meaning we are able to pull from it?

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This month we will be focusing on both the metaphor for life as journey and the physical action of pilgrimage for an intended purpose. In the March Coffee and Conversations that Matter, we will be exploring questions such as the ones above, as well as: what is a spiritual pilgrimage? How do we prepare for one? What am I looking for and am I looking in the right places?

I will also be sharing about practical ways we can prepare for a pilgrimage and then…we get to go one one together!

We will be heading up to Strathcona Provincial Park on Mount Washington for a two hour Snowshoe Pilgrimage. We will be walking on the flattest trail, moving slowly, and pausing regularly, but please note that snowshoeing does require a certain amount of physical exertion and may not be appropriate for all who want to come along. Once our journey together is complete folks are welcome to stay and unpack their experience at Ted’s Bar & Grill. If you cannot snowshoe, you are still welcome to join in on the apres-experience!

To register for the Snowshoe Pilgrimage, please fill out the form below (if more than 15 people register, we get a group booking discount).


Snowshoe Pilgrimage Registration Form:

Name *
Name
Phone *
Phone
Need Rentals? *
Need a Ride?
Do you need a ride from Courtenay/Cumberland to the lodge?
These will be kept confidential.
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Coffee and Conversations that Matter: Love

February 28th 10 am & 7pm at Whole Glow Cafe in Cumberland

The word love gets thrown around, especially in February.  But what are we talking about?  Infatuation?  Lust?  Commitment to our children or pets?  The deep longing we feel for tacos?

This month’s discussion will centre around love as a verb, an action word….the very action of our lives.

Grab a warm drink or a smoothie, chow down on a delicious goodie, and join us in this open minded exploration of love (and all the stuff that word carries along with it)

 

Weird Church in the Woods: February 16th at 4pm

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In October, a group of us wandered into the woods in Cumberland for an hour of walking meditations, interspersed with tactile forest exploration, ancient readings, and reflection both silent and spoken. We finished with a creekside meditation, surrounded by the lushness of the natural world.

Forest Church was what we called it, and now we are calling it Weird Church in the Woods. It isn’t just normal church happening outside; instead it is an attempt to participate with creation. 

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We aim to learn, worship, meditate, pray, and practice with the trees, beside the creek, along the edges of wild places.  Participants come with an attitude of experimentation, playfulness, and readiness to connect with nature.  God is present in creation and can be understood through creation; you're in the reflection, the readings come from the Second Book of God (aka nature).  The worship will happen when your heart is caught up in the beauty of the moment.

Forest church is a fresh expression of church, drawing on much older traditions when sacred places and practices were outside, aligned with contemporary research that highlights the benefits of spending time bathed in nature.

Spirituality becomes more balanced when our entire being: head, heart, soul, body - is involved with the world around us. Mindfulness, meditation, and contemplation are brought to their fullness when partnered with grounding and physical connection to the interconnectedness of all things.

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All ages are welcome to join us on a journey into the forest to explore the mystery of the natural world and to see what happens when we enter into the woods with an open mind, intentionality of connection, and a sense of play and awe. This may not be a service for those with extreme physical challenges, as we will be on the move (though nothing too strenuous).

Saturday February 16th, 4-5 pm Rain or Shine (or snow!) please dress for the weather.

Meeting place: Coal Creek Historic Park (Chinatown historic district)

Questions? info@weirdchurchcumberland.com or 250-218-7641

Coffee and Conversations that Matter: January 29 at 10 am

Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.

Just as important as defining what forgiveness is, though, is understanding what forgiveness is not. Experts who study or teach forgiveness make clear that when you forgive, you do not gloss over or deny the seriousness of an offense against you. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean condoning or excusing offenses. Though forgiveness can help repair a damaged relationship, it doesn’t obligate you to reconcile with the person who harmed you, or release them from legal accountability.

Instead, forgiveness brings the forgiver peace of mind and frees them from corrosive anger. While there is some debate over whether true forgiveness requires positive feelings toward the offender, experts agree that it at least involves letting go of deeply held negative feelings. In that way, it empowers you to recognize the pain you suffered without letting that pain define you, enabling you to heal and move on with your life.

How has forgiveness, or the lack thereof, impacted your life? Come and join in on the discussion. All are welcome to join in the open-minded, spiritual discussion.

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These words about forgiveness come from an article “Forgiveness Defined,” on The Greater Good Magazine: Science-Based Insights for a Meaningful Life, published by The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkley, 2019. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/forgiveness/definition

Coffee and Conversations that Matter...

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Tuesday December 11th at 10am: Stories of Hope!

For some of us, stories of hope are all around…for others, hope seems a long way off. Decembers Coffee and Conversations that Matter is all about sharing stories of hope: because we have experienced them and are bursting to share or because we cannot find any ourselves and need our hope buckets filled.

This month we are meeting at 10 am only, so come on out to Whole Glow Cafe at 2nd and Dunsmuir in Cumberland, grab something warm to drink and something delicious to eat, and immerse yourself, for an hour and a half, in hope.

Christmas Eve Family Candlelight Service

Hope. Peace. Joy. Love.

All ages Christmas celebration of the gifts of the season that don’t fit in a box.

Everyone is welcome.

6:30 pm St. George’s United Church Courtenay

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Weird Church is teaming up with St. George’s United in Courtenay for an all ages, interactive (yes, there is dress up for anyone who wants!) Christmas experience that combines old and new, tradition and exploration.

This service is a way to celebrate Christmas and make a difference: ALL donations received will go directly to Habitat for Humanity North Island, because we believe that what we do in church should work for the benefit of everyone in our communities.

Come on out and join us, you will laugh (we hope!), you might cry (that’s welcome too!), and you likely look wonderful in a tinsel halo. This is a safe space where all are truly welcome to peek in, participate, and be loved. We will conclude the service with a candle lit singing of Silent Night.

 

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Blue Christmas Service: December 21st at 5 pm

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Christmas is a wonderful time of year, often filled with singing and celebration, a sense of joy and wonder, and time with family and friends.  

However, for many people, this is a difficult time of year. People are carrying significant weights: grief, loss, depression, anxiety, financial stress, unemployment, uncertainty, aging parents, sick children, recent diagnoses, unknown illnesses. The public tone of the season does not resonate with many people’s private experience. These and other human situations make parties and joviality painful for many people in our communities.  This means that Christmas can sometimes be a very lonely time.

We invite anyone who can relate to feeling “blue” this time of year for dinner and a mellow and reflective Christmas service to mark who we are, where we are at, in the midst of the ancient Christmas story of the promise of a new hope.

 We will share a potluck dinner at 5 pm with the service to follow.


Forest Church: October 20th at 3 pm

Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes.
— Elizabeth Barrett Browning
fernforest.jpg

Forest Church isn’t just normal church happening outside; instead it is an attempt to participate with creation. 

We aim to learn, worship, meditate, pray, and practice with the trees, beside the creek, along the edges of wild places.  Participants come with an attitude of experimentation, playfulness, and readiness to connect with nature.  God is present in creation and can be understood through creation; you're in the reflection, the readings come from the Second Book of God (aka nature).  The worship will happen when your heart is caught up in the beauty of the moment.

Forest church is a fresh expression of church, drawing on much older traditions when sacred places and practices were outside, aligned with contemporary research that highlights the benefits of spending time bathed in nature.

Spirituality becomes more balanced when our entire being: head, heart, soul, body - is involved with the world around us. Mindfulness, meditation, and contemplation are brought to their fullness when partnered with grounding and physical connection to the interconnectedness of all things.


All ages are welcome to join us on a journey into the forest to explore the mystery of the natural world and to see what happens when we enter into the woods with an open mind, intentionality of connection, and a sense of play and awe.

Saturday October 20th, 3 pm Rain or Shine

Meet at the Skate Park at Cumberland Village Park