The global instability of today’s world is undeniable. The effects can be seen across the globe, including climate change, political upheaval and the rise of social media. In these uncertain times, TRU’s chaplaincy seeks to give balance and assurance to the populace.
On Wednesday, Feb. 6, the first spiritual conference was held in the House of Learning on campus. The evening began with a welcome from a First Nations Secwepemc Elder Estella Patrick Moller that set the tone for the rest of the event. Patrick Moller spoke of listening to our ancestors and remembering that we will get through; even if it seems that hope is lost.
Five local panellists then spoke on spiritual stability. Each person was given seven minutes to present their take on the subject. Each presentation shared a personal story and spiritual context in which to find faith. The panellists came from a variety of faith backgrounds.
“There was a need [for such an event] within the community,” said Pat Davies, one of the TRU chaplains and an organizer of the event.
David Field, a local pastor at Summit Drive Church, began the presentations with his take on Christianity. He was followed by Imam Abdurrahmann Murad, from the Kamloops Islamic Association, who spoke of God in his own way.
The next presenter was Allyson Davey, who is of mixed spiritual heritage. Davey grew up Catholic, was born Metis, married a Jewish man and now follows many Buddhist practices. She was followed by Charles Hayes, a TRU journalism professor, that has been following Buddhist practices for many years. The presentations ended with Rev. Kristin Autio, of the Kamloops United Church.
Although each panellist was from a different spiritual background, there were several similar phrases repeated by everyone throughout the evening. All of the panellists said that it was important “to feed the soul” and the most assured way of doing this “is to seek community.”
Members of the audience said that it was “a great dialogue” and that each presenter “said one significant thing” worth thought. TRU storyteller and writer Alicia Ashcroft was also in the audience and said that “the panel applied humour and hope [to spirituality] to carry you through.”
Based on the success of this first conferences, the community can expect another. The chaplaincy hopes to make the conference an annual event to coincide with the United Nations declared Interfaith Week.