Learn about: Food for the Soul

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Food for the Soul:
a spiritual development and spiritual practices group

The path that leads inwards ultimately leads back to the world where our refreshed, nurtured hearts can be vehicles of hope and care for others.

The Food for the Soul Group has been meeting on a monthly basis since January 2014. The group has developed a core membership but also welcomes drop-ins and newcomers. We aim to offer a safe environment for exploring and engaging spiritual practices that help us be fully alive to the holy presence in our midst. We model, teach and engage practices that participants are encouraged to develop and practice in their own time, between our monthly meetings.

Our meetings last for just over an hour and follow a pattern. We gather in a circle where we introduce ourselves, we then engage a practice that will help us transition into quietness. After a period of intentional silence we learn about and practice a different spiritual practice. We then focus on a question that requires our insight and thought. We share our responses with each other in small groups. We end with an opportunity for feedback and reflection.

In our group we try to model a way of life that enables spiritual growth thus we engage processes that encourage deep listening, restraint and containment. By exploring, deepening and refreshing our interior lives we draw closer to the Holy. Ultimately, we hope to offer our re-energized, renewed selves to our ministries and the world. The twin foci of the group is God and neighbor.

Leadership is shared between Rev. Carla McGhie and two other lay participants.

This is a group that values creativity, invites feedback, and offers a place of nurture, belonging and flexibility. The group recognizes that there are multiple approaches to the engagement of spiritual practices. While we may teach and practice one particular approach we welcome and recognize other approaches. Sometimes we include a contemplative form of worship in our group session.

All are welcome to this group. We usually meet on the last Wednesday of the month. Our next gathering will be in October, 2015. Updates and topics for exploration are advertised on the St Laurence website prior to meetings.

It is our hope that this information will be helpful to you.


St. Laurence Lenten Study 2015: “The Earth is the Lord’s – and so Are We!” – A Lenten Journey into Self-Care and Earth-Care

New West Anglican Blog

Naomi Klein’s best selling book, This Changes Everything, presents an in-depth analysis of climate change and its relation to contemporary global economics. Christians should read it and discuss the various implications that surface. At St. Laurence, we decided for our annual Lenten study to focus on some of Klein’s insight in relation to our Biblical mandate as Christians to care for ourselves and to care for the earth.

Lenten Tuesdays will begin and end with self-care: Looking at personal journeying through the wilderness and ending with a Labyrinth experience. The in-between weeks feature sessions focusing on Klein’s work through the lenses of the Biblical ‘creation mandate’ the concept of “Jubilee” and its relevance today, and the exploration of “Sabbath Economics” and the Christian call to “Simplicity”.

Here is the outline for our Five weeks of Lenten exploration coordinated by Rev. April Stanley, Rev. Steve Bailey, and Rev. Carla McGhie.

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At a Glance

The School for Parish Development: A one-day peek to find out more.

refresher day

I recently attended an event put on by the Diocesan School for Parish Development. Normally the school runs a week long course in the summer as well as a weekend option that runs all year (over four weekend sessions). The cost is $600 (bursaries are available from the diocese) and to graduate you must attend two years. Unable to put in the time commitment for either of these options, this one day “refresher” course was ideal. Added bonus: it was held at St. Laurence. The refresher was for people who are attending or have already graduated from the school. This doesn’t include me! But, that’s okay. It’s also designed for those who are curious about the School for Parish Development.

Their goal is to provide an opportunity for both clergy and lay people to develop skills in congregation and organizational development. Ideally, a few lay people will attend at the same time as their rector. Specifically, the school equips people to:

• Look at their current reality: Who are we? Where are we?
• Discern the future: What is God calling us to be in this time and place?
• Work on plans to get to the future: How do we get there?

Even before attending, I found the above bullet points particularly relevant to the journey St. Laurence has embarked upon. In fact, we’ll be asking ourselves many of the same questions on three Sundays in March.

The day provided us with a peek at different models of organizational structure, facilitation, and a model for change. We also had the opportunity to practice on a case study in small groups. In the afternoon, the newcomers were given ample opportunity to ask questions about the full course.

I was most impressed with our instructors for the day, especially Rev. Marnie Peterson, Tasha Carrothers and Rev. Jeremy Clark-King who kept us energized and motivated.

The full course may not be for everyone, but the day was a great way to become a little bit familiar with what it’s all about. If you’re interested in, and get the chance to take the full course I would greatly recommend it, for both your own personal development and for the benefit of St. Laurence. Our own Rev. April has completed the first year, and we currently have two parishioners taking the weekend format in year one: Pamela and Lianne. They would be happy to share their experiences with you!

Sharon Taylor


Tuesdays in Lent at 7:30

Tuesday Lent Banner

“The Earth is the Lord’s and So Are We”

A Lenten Journey into Self-Care and Earth-Care

Margaret Atwood, Canadian cultural icon, says to talk of ‘climate’ change isn’t helpful and that we really should be talking about ‘the everything’ change. That’s because issues of the changing climate are already affecting so much in our world beside temperatures—sea levels, crop production, species extinction. Naomi Klein’s latest book, This Changes Everything, presents a comprehensive analysis of what we know about the on-going ‘climate debate’ and where we are heading.

All of this is relevant to us as stewards of God’s world. Klein argues that climate change is a civilizational wake-up call. We are faced with the task of changing the world — before the world changes so drastically that no one is safe. Self-Care and Earth-Care walk hand in hand as we consider our responsibility to live according to the principles of the Reign of God among us — something that we commit to as followers of Jesus. Since both are important aspects of Lenten observance, our first and last gatherings will be led by our Food for the Soul group.

Klein’s thesis is that climate change cannot be separated from global economics in our increasingly complex world. “How then shall we live?” is a key question for both self and global examination.

Tuesdays in Lent 7:30 pm

  • The Wilderness Experience, Food for the Soul (February 24) The Lenten Journey traditionally follows Jesus through his ministry to the Cross. Just as Jesus’ work begins with a time in the wilderness, we will explore what it means to feel oneself in the wilderness.
  • The Biblical ‘Creation mandate (March 3), Climate, and Global Economic Directions. Can we Balance Earth-Care and Economic Growth?
  • Global Complexity: (March 10) Can we ‘reset the clock’? The concept of “Jubilee” as a Reflection of God’s image in Humanity; Is “Jubilee” still possible?
  • Sabbath Economics (March 17) as a social and economic model: Are we called to a ‘theology of simplicity’?
  • Labyrinth, Food for the Soul (March 24) Perhaps appropriately, on this final night, we will use the ancient spiritual resource of the Labyrinth to focus on where we feel God might be calling us individually to engage with protecting our environment.

Doing “Church” 2015: The Challenges of the ‘Dones’

New West Anglican Blog

The newest sociological trend in North American religious culture is the rise of the ‘Dones’.  It’s an interesting phenomenon to look at. We’ve been thinking about the increasing number of ‘nones’ when it comes to signifying religious faith, but we’ve barely begun to think about the ‘dones’.

But the truth is that as blogger Bill Muehlenberg points out on his Culture Watch blog, there are many Christians who have stopped going to church. Not that they’ve lost their faith in a loving God who is revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ, but they have washed their hands of the institutional church. “I’m done”, they declare.

A pioneering and insightful observation on the growth of this trend comes from the pen of “Holy Soup” blogger, Thom Schultz. Schultz presents the example of “John” whom he calls “every pastor’s dream”. John grew up in the church, and…

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Sharing a Meal with St. Laurence Youth

“How can I actually do something with my faith?” On Sunday evening, a large pan of ‘mac and cheese’ resulted in us having a wonderful dinner with the junior and senior youth of St. Laurence. This eager group was most grateful for the dinner and the opportunity for some good conversation. We got to know some of them better. Sharing a meal is often one of the best forums for conversation. After dinner they settled into an engaging film study of Rise of the Guardians. From weekly focused gatherings to seasonal service projects, our youth groups are guided by Liz and Kim as they learn how God’s truth can shape their young lives. If you can, take the opportunity to enter into the life of these focused and entertaining young people.

– Deacon Steve


What is “GenZ” and why does it matter?

New West Anglican Blog

I’m a watcher of Context, the Christian current affairs program that comes out of the CBC studios in Toronto. Lorna Dueck and her co-host Sheldon Neil do a great job of examining current affairs from a faith perspective.

One of the most recent programs, hosted by Sheldon Neil, involved a discussion of what has become known as GenZ – the present 5-20 year olds who are growing up in our current technological social media environment. The program is well worth a look and can be found at http://www.contextwithlornadueck.com.

Have a look for yourself. I’m hoping to have a focussed discussion with the St. Laurence junior and senior youth groups called “GenZ Jam” based on a group viewing of the program. We’ll focus on conceptions and misconceptions about youth today, youth and faith, and youth and social involvement.

I’m excited by the prospects.

Steve Bailey is a deacon at St…

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