Page 34 - Presbyterian Connection
P. 34

FALL 2021
Spiritual Companionships in Campbellville
 By the Rev. Drew Jacques,
St. David’s Presbyterian Church in Campbellville, Ont.
In this moment in history, we are des- perately trying to discern the future.
To be called to lead at any time can be a dangerous business. But to im- plement change and make progress in times like these—when most have one foot in the past and one in the air of the unknown—inevitably forces people within an organization to face deeper issues and potentially accept solutions that may require turning part of or the whole organization upside down.
While some have hurriedly scram- bled to return to normal and make like nothing happened, the congre- gation at St. David’s Presbyterian Church in Campbellville, Ont., has made a couple of decisions that will affect how we move into an unknown and uncertain future.
With the help of Anne Brockenshire and the folks at Trafalgar Presbyte- rian Church in Oakville, Ont., we have adopted their “Conduct Covenant,” a wonderful document aimed at making
sure that everybody is on the same page to work together to create a joy- ful future for God’s church, empow- ered by the Holy Spirit and deeply en- gaged in Christ’s mission in the world.
The document speaks about prac- ticing “spiritual companionship.” Having everybody in our congrega- tion be somewhat versed in the prac- tice of spiritual companionship is the first piece of the “spiritual toolbox” we are building to equip us for this uncertain future.
To this end, we invited Ralph Ben- mergui to lead two 90-minute online sessions focused on creating and nurturing our own spiritual toolbox- es. Ralph Benmergui is best known as a Canadian TV and radio person- ality. He is also an ordained Spiritual Director and hosts the podcast, “Not that kind of Rabbi.”
Prayer, spending time in nature, practicing creativity and gratitude, exercising, journaling, giving and getting a hug, and, most importantly, listening and being listened to, are all important tools that a spiritual tool- box equips you with in order to foster
spiritual companionships.
Though I cannot yet report on the
outcome, we have completed our first evening with Ralph. During the first session, we took time to speak about what is on our minds and dis- cuss what to do in order to move forward in this time of “giant com- plexity” (to use the language of Paul Bunyan) we all have been called into.
We concluded that, first and fore- most, we want to be spiritual com- panions. We want to go deeper and learn how to enable the spirit of love to move through us and free us of pomp and circumstance.
To this, Ralph made an interesting comment. He said “going deeper” is not so much a matter of climbing up the mountain of enlightenment as it is a matter of rappelling down the face of complexity to connect with one another.
So, we are going to learn how to rappel down the face of giant com- plexity together as spiritual compan- ions, to get our feet on the ground again, and move joyfully forward into “giant uncertainty.”
   Buzz Cut for Vaccines in Cornwall
   The Rev. Robert Adams—pre-buzz cut—with St. John’s Clerk of Session, Cynthia Seguin. PHOTO CREDIT: WES LIBBEY
By Dan Plant, St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Cornwall, Ont.
Why get a buzz cut for charity? Well, the Rev. Robert Adams, minister at St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Cornwall, Ont., wanted to get a haircut just before the last lockdown went into effect, but unfortunately, his barber had already closed shop.
In frustration, Robert proclaimed, “Fine! I’ll just let it grow out then!”
However, after further thought, he decided that he did want to do some- thing about getting his hair cut, but that that something could be done in conjunction with an active effort to inspire his congregation and com- munity to raise funds for the Love My Neighbour project—a campaign
St. John’s Elder, Dr. Michele Alexis, putting the finishing touches on the Rev. Robert Adams’s neckline. PHOTO CREDIT: WES LIBBEY
inspired by Millennium Kids and or- ganized in par tnership with UNICEF Canada to ensure global vaccine equity.
So, Robert offered to go as far as getting a full buzz cut in exchange for donations to help the Love My Neighbour campaign achieve its goal of distributing COVID-19 vaccines quickly and equitably in low- and middle-income countries around the world, giving our whole global fam- ily access to life-saving prevention measures.
The Government of Canada’s deci- sion to further aid this campaign by matching dollar for dollar every dona- tion made by an individual Canadian, up to a maximum of $10 million, was just icing on the cake.
The “Buzz” happened after worship at St. John’s Presbyterian Church on August 1. How does Robert like his haircut? Well, he was at one time a chaplain in the military and used to get a buzz cut for summer exercises with his units, so short hair is noth- ing new. Besides, as he said, “The difference between a bad haircut and a good haircut is only a matter of weeks.”
As of August, just over $3,000 has been raised by St. John’s and the surrounding community. This means that over 120 two-dose vaccines will be handed out to people in develop- ing countries.
Altogether, Love My Neighbour has raised over $325,000 to help vacci- nate 13,100 global neighbours lack- ing protection against COVID-19.

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