Spiritual Retreat "Descent into the Heart"
SPECTACULAR 2022 at Graceland University
July 30-August 6
Samish Family Reunion
Family Camp "Living Jesus Living Peace"
Junior Camp "What Moves Your Soul?
Canada West Mission Conference (online/in-person)
Click here to view full Canada West Events Calendar
Dates are subject to change.
Do you remember what it felt like to receive a party invitation when you were young? They were in the form of a card, or maybe if you’re younger than me, it came to you in an email. Whether it was on paper or digital, it was fun, even exciting and receiving the invitation gave you a feeling of being wanted and included. I’ll get back to this later.
At the Nature and Nurture retreat June 3-5 at Samish Island, we ‘invited’ people outside of our church community by advertising on meeup.com and Eventbrite. One-third of our attendees were people we had never met before and who had never been to Samish Island!
Our goal for this retreat was mainly to welcome people back to in-person activities. We knew a lot of our regular team would not be available that weekend, so with the small team of Patti Beer, Barbara Rose (Seattle) and myself we planned a retreat that was largely outdoors, with lots of time for visiting. We intentionally allowed up to 2 hours for meals and cleanup so everyone would have lots of time to linger over their meals and chat, and we set up the mornings with a toast bar at 7am, Yoga at 8am, and Breakfast didn’t start until 9am so that those who needed sleep could rest a little longer.
Mother Nature had her fun with us, pretty much turning on the faucet a few times, but she did share the sun with us for several hours on the Saturday. We had advised people to bring appropriate clothing so we could be outside no matter what the weather conditions were, and we kept the fireplace in the dining going the whole weekend.
Our activities included Dancing the Labyrinth, Meaningful Conversation Groups, Forest Bathing, Qi Gong, Blue Mind Water, Canoeing and Paddleboarding, Yoga sessions, and the 5 Rhythms. There were challenges navigating the world of Covid precautions and of course the weather, but for those of us who know Samish it so was great to be back, and our new people were wide eyed with amazement at our retreat space. One of them will be coming to Samish Reunion with her grandson, and a group of women intend to make the Nature and Nurture retreat an annual event.
Back to the ‘invitation’. If you’ve ever felt like inviting a friend to one of our Community of Christ events is pressuring them, I want you to re-think that and remember how it feels to be the one who is invited. Community of Christ members have a history of being invitational and we truly are a welcoming community. Let’s remember that. And remember that during covid many people have been lonely and are searching for a place to belong. Let’s not miss this opportunity to make wonderful new friends and welcome them into our community whether it’s a retreat, a zoom session, a Creating Connection activity, online church or in-person church.
To learn more about advertising on meetup.com or Eventbrite or other social media platforms, please contact me, firstname.lastname@example.org or toll free 1-877-411-2632 ext 4. This is YOUR invitation.
Creating Connection Director
Yours in Christ,
Gwyn, Kat, and Shannon
Join us in person for "Descent into the Heart" a spiritual retreat with Kat Goheen. A journey through scripture and spiritual practice toward intimacy with God.
When: Friday, June 24 to Sunday, June 26, 2022
Where: Hills of Peace
Registration fee: $125 CAD (subsidies available)
Registration deadline: Sunday, June 12
Director: Brenda Senga
Register online at www.cwm.events and see more information.
Join us again on Sunday, June 26 for a Special Sunday Worship with GPNWMC: “Sacredness of Creation". Please note the prelude begins at 6:40 pm PDT/ 7:40pm MDT/ 8:40pm CDT/ 9:40pm ET.
All sessions are free and participation in previous webinars and conversations is not necessary to join. If you registered for a past webinar or conversation, you do not need to register again. Once registered, you will be sent a link to join the sessions.
For more information about the series please visit the Climate Change Colloquy website.
This is an appeal for financial donations in support of the
Hills of Peace Campground!
The pandemic and its related restrictions have resulted in two years of programs being cancelled at Hills of Peace. No programs = no revenues. It is as simple as that. Although there have been no programs, many expenses continue. We still need a Camp Caretaker to visit the camp regularly to monitor for damage or repairs and to perform regular maintenance. We are still faced with the expenses of power, insurance and for occasional repairs as required.
Our expenses will go up with a return to the “Hills” for summer gatherings. The target of this fund-raising initiative is open to whatever you can give! We have all seen the changes at the supermarket and gas pumps.
Please consider making a donation to the Hills of Peace Campground. This is especially directed to members and friends in Saskatchewan and Alberta. In addition, residents of other areas may also have memories of good experiences here. We welcome whatever you might wish to donate in support of Hills of Peace. Please be generous! Note that a request has also been made to each of the Alberta and Saskatchewan congregations to support this initiative.
We wish you a good summer. We look forward to welcoming all friends of Hills of Peace back to the campground this summer.
Please send donations to Hills of Peace, use one of the following methods:
Register at www.cwm.events
Registration Deadline: July 24
Age Groups: Junior High (entering grade 7 to entering grade 9) and High School (entering grade 10 and just graduated grade 12)
Registration fee: $220 (subsidies available)
Register at www.cwm.events
Registration Deadline: Sunday, July 31
Registration fee: $176 (subsidies available)
Register at www.cwm.events
Registration Deadline: August 6
Age Groups: Children entering grades 4, 5 and 6
Come show off your colours and try new experiences that play with your senses as we work together to discover what moves your soul. It’s been a while for all of us. We are excited to be together again, and we hope to see you at Jr Camp, where we make new friends and reconnect with old ones.
We know many have been eagerly anticipating the return of in-person camping for Canada West, and we are excited to share that, barring any dramatic changes in the state of Covid-19, we are moving forward with in-person camping this year.
In light of our enduring principles around the worth of all persons, unity in diversity, and personal responsibility, we are offering some guidance. We do this because of our gospel call to offer welcome to the least and most vulnerable among us.
First of all, our corporate responsibility as a mission centre is to always, at a minimum, follow local Covid guidelines for safe gatherings. Individual camp directors may decide that additional restrictions are necessary to keep campers safe, including things such as no in-out privileges during camp. At a minimum, directors will be responsible for ensuring camps follow all local guidelines for communicable illness, and to stay updated as those change.
Second, each of us has a personal responsibility to consider what we can do to protect one another. Personal responsibility can look like:
Our guiding question for you is: How will you protect the precious neighbour that sits beside you at camp?
We also encourage everyone to respect one another’s choices in how they have responded to Covid. Regardless of our individual views on vaccinations or public health mandates, we come together as one community who find unity in diversity. Some people will feel more comfortable wearing a mask and keeping their distance, others will be ready to embrace everyone. Please respect the speed and space of each person’s engagement at camp.
We can’t wait to raise our voices to sing “We’re all together again, we’re here, we’re here” in the sacred spaces we find ourselves gathering in this summer, and to also sing the words together “We are one in the Spirit”.
Yours in Christ,
Gwyn, Kat, and Shannon
The Hills of Peace Campground Association is seeking a Campground Caretaker. This position will be of interest to someone who:
This is a paid position. Contract terms will be negotiated with the successful candidate. A more detailed position description is available here. Applications will be accepted until a suitable candidate is found.
Expressions of interest should be directed to:
Noela Inions, President, Board of Directors
Unfortunately, there are many scammers looking for opportunities to take advantage of non-suspecting individuals in many different ways, especially on this holidays season!
We want to warn you about one such scheme that may be circulating among or from Community of Christ members, friends and Mission Centre Leadership right now.
If you should receive an email that appears to be from someone you know or trust such as CWM leadership, or congregation leadership, other close friends or relatives, etc., stating something like, “Can you do me a favour?”, be extremely cautious. These messages are likely a “phishing” email.
If you reply, the next email asks you to purchase a gift card on their behalf. The message may say they need the card immediately, but they are too busy to do it, and they will pay you back as soon as possible. These emails are not legitimate. They are being sent by malicious entities who are impersonating people in your contacts list to gain your trust and exploit you. These kinds of fraudulent emails attempt to gain your trust in order to access your personal and/or credit card information, or to get money (in the form of gift cards).
DO NOT click any links or reply to such messages. Delete these emails immediately!
What to do next:
If you believe you have received this type of phishing email:
Be very suspicious regarding online communication, especially when being requested to purchase gift cards or transfer funds. Remember, scams come in many forms. Click here to see a list of other possible scams published by the Government of Canada.
Note: This notice was originally published by Canada East Mission Centre in April 2021. Canada West acknowledges with appreciation their original drafting. This is being re-published by Canada West due to a series of “phishing” emails that have circulated recently.
Registration for SPEC 2022 is open! This incredible event for teens who have completed grades 9-12 will be held on the Graceland University campus July 16-23. After two years of cancellations, the leadership team is thrilled to be back! Specific COVID-19 protocols and limits are in place this year as a precaution.
Father’s Day seems to be summed up in barbeque and crafts made from macaroni and glue, especially with puns about fishing (“Dad, you’re a great catch!”). On this day, we celebrate the qualities of nurturing, strength, and challenge that we seek from fathers, knowing that we may not have experienced those qualities as fully as we may have wished in our holding environments. I think of grandfathers on this day as well, with the extra layer of perspective and unconditional love that they are often able to offer. When I lived with my grandparents as a student as Graceland University, my Grampie could not help but jump in the car and run to the store if there was anything I needed! His love showed me the truth of God’s love.
The connection that Jesus had with his heavenly father is especially touching to me. I grew up praying, “Dear Heavenly Father” in my prayers, which had a grand yet distant ring to it. When Jesus says “Abba,” meaning “Daddy,” it is sweet in a humbling sort of way. Its intimacy draws God close, without barriers or resistance.
God is a mystery that transcends race and gender. Still, I wonder: could I pray to God in this way? We can have many kinds of unitive experiences with God and Spirit, but I feel that this language is a special manifestation of a soul at peace with God. I pray for that peace in myself and for you!
May you find sheltering in this celebration. May you find love. May you find the peace that passes all understanding and know yourself as a beloved child of God.
Yours in Christ,
Gwyn, Kat, and Shannon
Join us next Monday, June 20 at 8pm via Zoom, as Caitlin Ball (Calgary Congregation) and Aymie Neudorf (Regina Congregation) host a second informative session about Canada West Mission Centre Youth Camp 2022. There will be a time for questions and answers. Click on the button below for Zoom login details.
Last week in the column we looked at membership and belonging. Today we’ll flip that coin and look within. Our humanity is hardwired for connection and at the same time tuned for meaning. Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? What is a good life?
We all grow older, if we’re lucky, but we don’t necessarily grow up. It’s the time we spend in study, self-reflection, prayer, and meditation that feeds our inner life and helps us transition from milk to solid food, as Paul says in I Corinthians 3. We have many ways to distract ourselves from real, burning-bush experiences with God, and our intellect is one of the big ones!
At the Spiritual Retreat at Hills of Peace (June 24-26), we will be opening ourselves to spiritual growth in a safe container at a beautiful campground. We will examine the stories of Mary, Martha, Jesus, and Lazarus for those moments of spiritual connection that show us ways to grow. We will use all of our senses to experience and appreciate the Holy. We will slip behind our figuring-out minds and listen to our hearts and bodies; to the still, small voice that longs to be one with us.
As you clear your vision about where you belong and who you long to be, make room in your heart for the One who knows you best!
Gwyn, Kat, and Shannon
On June 12, the church is invited to “Boldly Venture,” a worldwide worship. This gathering will be the official start of our journey to 2023 World Conference.
The worship will be streamed in English, French, and Spanish on Facebook and YouTube at 4:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. CDT allowing for live participation in the chat and comments. New for this event, congregations or groups can gain early access to the worship video to use it during their regular gathering on June 12 or anytime afterward. Details about downloading will be coming soon.
The worship includes three segments—Gather, Center, and Bless. Participants of various ages from nations spanning the globe will share in music, testimony, readings, and prayer. Listen to President Steve Veazey’s message and hear music from Jan Kraybill, Daniel Harmon, Beyond the Walls Choir, French Polynesia, and Africa.
Please make plans to join us live or download the worship to share it with your congregation or group!
Looking for volunteers that would like to spend a day or a weekend outdoors, enjoying the sun, the trees and the magnificent sunset over the lake!
You will have time to reconnect with friends and family. Hills of Peace (HOP) needs help with cleaning cabins, dorms, bathrooms, main chapel and the kitchen. Enjoy conversation over a 5 star lunch, dinner and breakfast. There will be a lot of support and assistance and all cleaning products (eco friendly) provided.
Come join us for a monthly “get together” for casual discussion of books from a wide range of genres. Open to all book lovers (some books may not be suitable for younger readers).
When: Third Monday of every other month at 7pm (BC), 8pm (AB/SK), 9pm (MB). Our next meetup is on June 13!
Our book for this session is: "Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness" by Susannah Cahalan
An award-winning memoir and instant New York Times bestseller that goes far beyond its riveting medical mystery, Brain on Fire is the powerful account of one woman’s struggle to recapture her identity.
When twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak, she had no memory of how she’d gotten there. Days earlier, she had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: at the beginning of her first serious relationship and a promising career at a major New York newspaper. Now she was labeled violent, psychotic, a flight risk. What happened?
In a swift and breathtaking narrative, Cahalan tells the astonishing true story of her descent into madness, her family’s inspiring faith in her, and the lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn’t happen.
Meet our host:
Kelly Duff has loved reading from an early age. In recent years, she has especially loved the opportunities she's had to read stories by brand new authors through her volunteer work with Filidh Publishing; where she assists with preliminary edits of new manuscripts, as well as helps with planning/running book launches and open mic events. She enjoys reading books from many genres, and she looks forward to exploring the worlds of fiction and non-fiction with other avid readers!
Where are you?
Last week in the column we looked at Psalm 139, at God’s ability to hold us in knowledge and love. We do not have that same insight as Mission Centre Presidents! As we prepare for voting at Mission Centre Conference, we received a question about where each of you have membership, whether it’s in a congregation or as a non-resident. This is a great time to reflect – do you know where your membership is? Would you like to update it? Any of us would be glad to hear from you if you would like our help in that process!
This is also a great time to reflect, where does my ‘membership’ lie in other areas of my life? Has COVID disrupted the ties that usually hold me? Have my relationships floated out beyond my reach? No matter how introverted we may feel in our heart of hearts, part of our life here in this beautiful creation seems to be making and fostering connections. Where are you? Right here, in a specific space.
I invite you to find a spot outdoors that speaks to you – a tree, a flower bed, a bend in a river, and really see what is there. Perhaps it’s new life, perhaps it’s a mossy boulder, perhaps it’s a tiny ecosystem full of activity. Let yourself love this particular place and see if you can build a habit to return to it as days and seasons pass. Just like the elements of your special spot, you also have a place, a relationship with what is, an invitation to full engagement with life.
Yours in Christ,
Gwyn, Kat, and Shannon
We hope you’ll join us this weekend for the Nature and Nurture Retreat at Samish Island.
It’s time to get back to in-person experiences and there’s no better place to do that than at Samish Island Retreat Centre. Join us for a Nurturing weekend with lots of outdoor Nature time, and plenty of time for socializing. For those of you who have attended our retreats in the past, you'll notice something different this time. We've hired people to do the end of camp cleanup so you'll only be responsible for cleaning your own cabin when the camp ends.
For those of you who are concerned about crossing the border, we can tell you that several Canadians crossed the border to help at Samish Work Week ,and had no issues at the border.
The cost is $250 CAD per person, one person or family per cabin.
Should you have any questions, contact email@example.com
community of christ
355 Elmira Road North, Unit 129
Guelph, ON N1K 1S5 Canada
Canada West Mission: 877-411-2632
Canada East Mission: 888-411-7537