Coun­cil of Churches learns about L’Arche

The News (New Glasgow) - - FAITH & COM­MU­NITY/LIFE­STYLES - Sub­mit­ted by Muriel Palmer

Shirley MacKay re­ported on be­half of the Pic­tou Fuel Fund. Rev. Ai­den Kings­bury thanked Jim McKenna for his lead­er­ship over the last two years and other mem­bers.

He es­pe­cially gave thanks to all the donors and res­i­dents of Pic­tou County for their kind­ness and sup­port. Awards for var­i­ous groups and in­di­vid­u­als who sup­ported the fuel fund were rec­og­nized.

A great kick-start for this year’s fundrais­ing was once again Tim Hor­ton’s Smile Cookie Cam­paign. En­velopes were avail­able to be given to the var­i­ous churches and a thank you for the churches con­tin­ued sup­port.

Robert Rogers re­ported on the Shep­herd Lunch­room. Be­tween June and Au­gust, the lunch­room served 2,780 clients over 35 days. Plans are un­der­way for Christ­mas.

He ex­pressed thanks to the “One Hun­dred Women Who Care” which en­abled the pur­chase of a new com­mer­cial model stove that was badly needed.

Mary Arse­neau re­ported on be­half of the So­cial Ac­tion Com­mit­tee. A “Chew On This” pa­per bag was given to each per­son as they en­tered the meet­ing. “Chew On This” events are be­ing held by many groups in more than 30 cities across Canada, cov­er­ing the ar­eas from Van­cou­ver to St. John’s to Yel­lowknife and in­cludes events in our lo­cal area.

These bags in­clude a snack, a mag­net and a post­card to let Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau know that we need a plan to end poverty, food in­se­cu­rity and home­less­ness in Canada. Since the “Dig­nity For All” cam­paign was launched in 2009, the cam­paign has called for a na­tional plan to end poverty.

Thou­sands of Cana­di­ans are de­mand­ing the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to es­tab­lish a plan to erad­i­cate poverty and hunger for nearly 900,000 peo­ple in Canada who use food banks each month and for oth­ers who are strug­gling to get by.

A re­port was given on the Vi­ola’s Place. They are still in need of vol­un­teers to be able to op­er­ate. Train­ing ses­sions are be­ing of­fered.

Even a cou­ple hours can help fill the gap. Sched­ules will be flex­i­ble. Mary also gave a re­port re­gard­ing the refugees, the Boat Har­bour sit­u­a­tion and the walkIn clinic.

Emma Camp­bell pre­sented the fi­nan­cial re­port and bud­get for the up­com­ing year. In Septem­ber, word was re­ceived from the ra­dio sta­tion on the can­cel­la­tion of the Church Alive Pro­gram, which aired on Sun­day morn­ing.

Guest speak­ers were Jen Power, di­rec­tor of L’Arche for the Mar­itime Prov­inces, and Ian Pel­lerin. These guests shared the story of L’Arche, a story of love, faith and hope.

Ian and Jen ex­plained how they were alike and dif­fer­ent. She ex­plained that L’Arche was a place where L’Arche mem­bers are dif­fer­ent in some ways but the same in many other ways. L’Arche was started in 1964 by Jean Vanier, son of the for­mer Gov­er­nor Gen­eral of Canada, who had an en­counter with in­di­vid­u­als with dis­abil­i­ties. While he did not un­der­stand the words some of these in­di­vid­u­als were say­ing, he rec­og­nized in his heart they needed to be ac­cepted for who they were and it was im­por­tant for them to have a place in the world where they could be­long. He called this new com­mu­nity L’Arche, which is a French word Ark — a place where peo­ple can come to­gether where some­thing new and some­thing hope­ful is born.

The L’Arche com­mu­nity has grown to have 150 com­mu­ni­ties in the world. Five are es­tab­lished here in At­lantic Canada. Jen spoke of what it was like to live in L’Arche homes, how the mem­bers share life to­gether, do­ing chores, crafts, meals and many ac­tiv­i­ties.

She di­rected her thoughts to a mes­sage she heard at a church camp in Ber­wick, where a poem by Bo­ras Novak read, “Be­tween hope and de­spair, choose hope, it is harder to bear.”

The in­vi­ta­tion to choose hope is al­ways there.

We need to feel hope­ful. Liv­ing in com­mu­nity has its suf­fer­ings, dif­fer­ences that can be mis­un­der­stood.

Jen shared many won­der­ful in­for­ma­tion about life in L’Arche and left us with these words: won­der­ful things can hap­pen with liv­ing with hope, choos­ing hope does not hap­pen be­cause you want it to hap­pen; it hap­pens be­cause you worked very hard for it to hap­pen.

She closed with, “When God is go­ing to do some­thing won­der­ful, he or she starts with a hard­ship, and when God is go­ing to do some­thing amaz­ing, he or she al­ways starts with an im­pos­si­bil­ity.”

Next meet­ing will be at Lady of Lour­des Church on Dec. 4.

Dion Dur­dle re­minded ev­ery­one of the Sal­va­tion Christ­mas Ket­tles and the need of vol­un­teers.

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