Caring of the Soul

Caring of the Soul

Earlier this month CCS Principal Alan Lai, along with Wing Yi Wong, PhD candidate from Emmanuel College, led a spiritual retreat for church ministers, scholars, and friends to reflect on their experiences to share their lives growing up in Hong Kong and their experiences living in Canada. Participants from various parts of Canada came together at the Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre in Beausejour, Manitoba. (Sandy-Saulteaux is a United Church theological school specializing in the education of Indigenous ministers, and close friend of the Centre for Christian Studies.) The theme of the event was “Caring of the Soul, for ministry of justice and resettlement”, and was held April 29-May 2, 2024.

With the recent political turmoil in Hong Kong and the subsequent influx of new Hong Kong immigrants in mind, this retreat aimed to provide a safe place to debrief past trauma and recent resettlement. Participants came from various stages of living in Canada, faith journeys, and Christian leadership.

Alan was thrilled with how the retreat went. “Participants are still talking about it, saying how extraordinary this retreat was. It will stay at the top in hearts and minds for years,” he said. “What made this retreat unique is partly the fact that we chose to go to Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre. That space added much to our conversation as we debrief Hong Kong and Canadian cultural experiences. Being there was life-giving.”

Participants quickly found themselves becoming comfortable with each other and developed a high degree of trust, leading to honest sharing and many heartfelt ‘aha’ moments.

“It seemingly achieved nothing and yet, has achieved all the goals we had ever desired,” said one of the participants following the event.

Alan is grateful to the United Church of Canada Foundation for providing funding for this retreat.

The following video, with English subtitles, gives you a glimpse of the energy of the event.

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