Transcription – Week 5 – A New Vision for Wednesday Evenings

Transcription for:

Oneness Wednesdays – March 30th –  JOIN THE NEW VISIONING PROCESS FOR WEDNESDAY EVENINGS!

Attendees

Pat Miller
Linda Chan
Marvelous Trudeau
Laurie Beal
Jack Hyatt
Don Morris
Lorna Rennie
Marie Logan
Brian Martin
Sanjara Omoniyi
Love Brown
John vanden Heuvel
Troi Leonard

Welcoming early Activity @ 6:45 – writing personal thoughts/ideas about Oneness Wed. on 5 large Question Flip Charts,
which formed a basis for our Talking Circle

Opening the Circle & Lighting the Candle – by Laurie Beal

Oneness Wednesday Mystery Ball Game – Setting intention for the Evening –“One word that is important to you about how we share our evening together….”

“Respect – Openness -Cooperation – Love – Courage- Sacred Relations – Sharing – Storytelling – Soul and Spirit- Productivity -Fun – Acceptance”

Brief summary of Oneness Wednesday History, Mission & Intention – Pat Miller & Linda Chan

 

Pat – Oneness Wednesday started in 2008 …. Our mission statement –

I just pulled out the important parts — reflective meditative spiritual guidance – free to all, donations appreciated – volunteer run – experience the peace and oneness of life – Brian Martin named Oneness Wednesdays when we were brainstorming years ago – to create community partnerships with a rich diversity of Victoria’s spiritual groups and individuals… (Linda Chan’s vision) – to nurture the self and the whole of our global village and all are welcome (we never turn anyone away). It was Linda Chan who had the feeling that changes were needed many years ago (much like the feelings expressed today). She came to me and said she wanted something like this to start happening. I was reluctant initially to get so involved in something like this because I was working but she is a bulldog and we do work well together! We know each other’s positions usually and who does what best so this is what we came up with. She always has her ear to the ground of the community and of the movements that are important in community so we coordinated Oneness Wednesdays. Now we feel it’s time for new energies because certainly I just don’t have the enthusiasm any more. It’s been approximately 40 evenings per year (or over 300 evening)  that we have organized over the years, with help from Marvelous,Peggy, Paul and Deborah. I really feel that other people can bring new energies & inspired direction to this!

Linda – Over the years we’ve had a variety of offerings at Oneness Wednesdays, such as Solstice Celebrations , Quiet Practice, Truth and Reconciliation, Non-Violent Communication, Be the Change that You Want to See. We started in January 2008 with “Finding the Gifts in Illness” with Carol Douglas facilitating & there were dozens of people there.

Pat – Question – “Is there something that people here know about Oneness Wednesdays that they think is important to say before we start?” Several people responded:

Oneness Wednesdays, as far as I am aware of (topics and workshops presented) is, absolutely valuable and I feel that the church has barely used them as well as we could have. Another thing that is really interesting is that a lot of men in the community has been talking about a need for a more driven and focussed spiritual development program or series of workshops so I would encourage us to get help get the men’s lessons going in Oneness Wednesdays and involve the women too!

It is a valuable outreach because several people who are members of our church were not willing to come in on Sunday mornings to the church service – so many people have church phobia and they started here by being enticed by some of the Oneness Wed. programs that we were offering. They came and they discovered that these people weren’t too scary and so then they started dabbling in Sundays. So Oneness Wednesdays have gently introduced the greater community to our Community of Conscious Living on Sundays.

Talking Circle ….. “Let’s think about brainstorming new visions for Wednesday Evenings” ….

From the Question Flip – charts – Personal contributions of new Visions:

Oneness Wednesdays were meant to allow the opportunity to deepen & extend Sun. Services.

Meditation time could be regularly offered at the beginning of all the Wednesdays evenings.

Meditations or Sharing Circles, such as What is Spirituality to You?

Project evenings – To create items for charitable organizations in different countries (i.e. knitting, crocheting, blankets, socks)

Book clubs; Climate change discussion evenings; Ideas sharing; Re-living more consciously

Socials with food, game and fun; Various talking circles;

Exploring our unity beyond our diversity – what is it and how do we access and create it?

Community forums; Creating partnerships (i.e. work together with other local churches or community groups to assist in sponsoring a Syrian family – that is something that we can get behind although it is not something that we can do alone – so we could have a forum on that.)

Have set evenings for certain topics or project (i.e. every last Wednesday is…..)

Before Oneness Wednesdays were hatched, Joy Emmanuel, when she was a member tried to get something going on Wednesday evenings and she was going to have a different happening on the first Wednesday of the month, on the second Wednesday of the month, etc. It never really developed but it seems that we might be going back to that idea or some form of it.

Study groups (different religions or topics) – not always on Wednesday as some can not come, yet they want to be part of these discussions, especially relating to church decisions.

Right now this is the only time we have in the week, aside from Sun. service, that is set aside for us as a community and is rent free.

Forming a “Wednesday Team” to facilitate inspiring programs is essential!

Personal autobiographies – we all have stories to share – (i.e. Crop Circles -) have a program to share this – insights that we’ve gained, as a mother, as a father, as a traveller, such a richness there and let it flow out, positive joyful storytelling.

Music group to perform special numbers for Sunday Service to support Laura & Brian (with drums, guitar, etc. uptempo)

People can be inspired & start a circle program! (Come up with vision, useful ideas and directions…..)

I like the idea of having four different Wednesdays and it seems to me that we have a few categories developing (such as a community meal/social, personal storytelling, Meditation Circle, Community Talking Circle……)

I feel strongly about having a music group to present to Laura and Brian – drums, etc. to do on Sunday mornings like last Sunday. Laura played the drums and it had a different fast tone to it.

Who are we wanting to focus the Wednesday evenings on? I’m assuming outside our community as well as inside.

I recognize how precious open Wednesday is. How are we going to fill it? So the word that comes to me is strategy. We have to have strategic plan to maximize the pleasure, the knowledge, the attendance, the satisfaction, and so on…so the idea of forming a Wednesday Team (Committee) is an excellent place to start. Now when I think about filling 40 weeks, I want to make it easy cause you might run out of topics, etc. In the strategic approach, my sense is that we identify the most pressing needs of the people in the church. We start with the pressing needs of the church. Another idea would be to simplify all this 40 weeks, and possibly categorize, and we might open ourselves not to 4 Oneness Wednesdays but to 8 or 12 Oneness Wednesdays. So further, if we had a broad theme for 2 months or 3 months, we could focus on the environment – We can get Andrew Weaver coming in….You get gardeners and landscapers, the environment is very important to us…then we can go to another level….we can look at religion for 2 or 3 months (8 weeks) and you can have a representative from First Nations, Jewish, etc. Wednesdays are to strengthen us & our world. Meditation circles could be on the 1st & final Wed. of each month. It’s easier this way to categorize. Branding is important.

I think that knowing our objectives of having Oneness Wednesdays is important. Is it basically a social thing? or Is it pursuing new and different areas? (like crop circles, UFOs) I think the idea of going 8 to 12 weeks with the same theme could turn a lot of people off who are not interested in that area – I think that we have to be careful about that. I like the idea of Book Clubs. I think that’s great. I think there are a lot of good ideas out there. Lots of variety would be a great plus for me. Lots of opportunity for people with special interests to jump in and do some Oneness Wednesdays. Maybe they do not want to do all 4 weeks and just do 2 weeks. Whatever works.

We are hearing a lot about what each person wants but we have to have a higher vision of the whole.

I also think with the amount of people we have – (small) membership – getting people from outside to be involved here – it would be easy to do a lot of these things but the idea of creating the structure with a focus is good. I think a book club would be easily done with a library for people to borrow books and put the books back and people have access to this library and availability on a 2 week basis – wonderful spiritual material. Also I feel that we could have a circle come together at times to discuss a spiritual teaching and work on understanding that to evolve and transform ourselves. With this process, this could be another area that could evolve. I also feel that meditation other than Sunday would be both useful for the personality and soul and also useful as a healing tool – a healing process – that meditation can be done not only for the individual but meditation for world service. Meditation that sends energy out to particular areas of need and this is needed world wide right now – that we can be helpful in this area as well. So I really love the idea of creating a music band, and of course the people involved, Brian and Laura and other people working together to create positively some really interesting, upbeat kind of resurgence in the music. It would be fantastic. I know of other spiritual organizations using it as a major drawing card actually of their teachings. It’s music and the involvement of it. So this is just an idea.  Creating a strong magnetic center would result in the larger community being attracted here. Of course, all of this takes time, commitment, responsibility, so we have to be careful not to overdo things where we can drain our energy and be completely wiped out.

I kind of like the diversity and you can pick and choose. It is all due to the commitment of 2 people pretty much over all these years and I’m not sure what is intended. A Wednesday committee to facilitate this. One Wednesday each month to be for a certain thing – make it easier for everyone. Even a team of people – a lot of work – some are on the board, some are on the SDC, do we have another group of individuals to take it on? The simpler we can make it and have diversity, I think is important. Even to the point where someone has to be available to open the door and locking up and it is their responsibility. Just an idea. Don’t want it to be too complicated. I really value your input…It has been valuable over the years to have this diversity.

When Oneness Wednesday first started in 2008, I was really hoping that Oneness Wednesday would go beyond diversity to creating unity. The sense of what lies beyond diversity has not always been approached. It is still appearing as I want this or I want that….It’s all very personal… To go beyond the personal and serve something larger than ourselves…Troi made reference to the idea of serving the world situation through meditation – I think that is very important – I think that is, as our community, the next step for community to take and we’ve spent many years becoming a community (talking about it, thinking about it), that is not my vision, that is one more step from being a diffused group to being a group that has some unity but there is something beyond this that we can serve a spiritual purpose or higher purpose in the world by sharing our energies and the depth of our connection – so I think of the challenges of how to do that – how to create the deeper connections that we talk about and some of the ideas there are certainly very important for doing that. But I think that we have to keep the vision that is what we are looking for. A Meditation group would be good to create a higher purpose to serve our world.

I guess I don’t participate in Wednesday. There have been times that there have been exciting things over the years – some really wonderful things – that you have planned and unfortunately I haven’t been able to get here for one reason or another – something else has happened on Wednesdays …So I haven’t on a personal level taken advantage of Oneness Wednesdays. But I know that it has been a lot of fun for things that you brought forward. If someone is not excited about something, then they should take the initiative of bringing something forward (like John did with Crop Circles) – that is something that I wanted to attend but couldn’t; In all fairness to two people who have put their lives on the line for Oneness Wednesdays, it is up to all of us – it is not up to two people to make us all excited. We have to help in that situation.

I’ve been here for six years and I too want to thank Pat and Linda for what you have done and I think the situation at this moment is after having had 8 years. I’ve been here when there are 30 people (and a lot of people not from our community) – so you have moved a lot of energies and held the space, which I really admire. But I also noticed with the last year was an ebbing out. These Wednesday evenings can be recreated and I like the idea of strategic planning of what are the needs – who’s needs are we addressing and how can we find a simple way of doing that because having this diversity and calling people to facilitate, it’s a lot of work and I like kind of the idea of having regularity – you create something slowly – it might be a repetitive pattern for a number of weeks so it’s not too much work for who ever takes this on. May be it needs a deeper envisioning of how we can hold and fill that space. It needs the nitty gritty work. It needs people to do the work and to come. There are a lot of questions at the moment. I personally like fun, creativity, and deepening of connections because our church has lots of diversity in our Sunday Services. We have speakers who you don’t know who you are going to meet..It’s a very special formula that we have in our community . For someone coming into our community, it is not pulling us deeper into connection – We come to a deeper connection when we are engaged – when you are part of the board, when you contribute your time and energies . I feel engaging is a key word for me.

One of the purposes of Oneness Wednesdays was to be an extension of our Sunday Services – to be a forum to go deeper into a subject area ….perhaps something that was explored during our service but we didn’t have the time to discuss it in depth and as mentioned we wanted Oneness Wednesday to be a meditative or reflective experience for people attending the evenings. I like the idea of forming a Wednesday Team (Committee) and to have a Wednesday evening each month or more for meditation. I feel also that these Wednesday evening can be a key to giving members an opportunity to be engaged probably in the same way as Sunday Services where we have our members take on different aspects of the running of the Wednesday evening – a person chosen to be greeter, someone else to light a candle, read a poem, etc. — opportunity to get our community members involved in ways that they are interested or passionate about.

We can strengthen the interpersonal relationships of our community. Sundays – I want to come away inspired from the Sunday Service – fulfilled, go home humming a tune that we might have sung or reminiscing or reflecting on maybe the meditation or what was shared by the speaker where as the Wednesday could be active practical aspects that bring us closer together.

To carry forth Brian comments and Troi’s comments and my views – we utilize Wednesdays to strengthen us and the world so it dawns on me that meditation is probably the foundation – I have a teacher who said that one’s commitments to the dying is equivalent to one’s commitments to the meditative practice so from going around the room, if we thought in 8 week cycles, just in a month, the first Wednesday in the month can be meditation, the last Wednesday can be meditation so that the last Wednesday and the first Wednesday will go together like that so we would be maximizing back to back. Now we want to get everybody excited to come so I think branding is important, so part of the branding, so we are going to have a two month festival and have a theme – Psychic phenomenon so we have crop circles, you have near-death experiences, you have whatever fits into a Psychic Festival, what have you.  You have the environment so it’s two months – four sessions and four meditation evenings altogether. I guess I go back to the main idea that we want to do here is connect with each other on a deeper level and to keep the community alive and vibrant. However way we can do this is OK with me. It is best to keep it simple.

I feel very deeply that Brian touched a nerve when he spoke and mentioned that we are too diversive.  We are moving too much into events and activities when we have not deepened our centre of being. I think that is the first step. Why do we need Wednesday evenings? We need to deepen our relationships with soul and with each other for each other and that’s really the beginning of something then that can grow out of it or move out into what I call magnetic attraction – we have lost our magnetic attraction – It’s not a matter of how we can attract people out there. It’s a matter of deepening our inner consciousness, our inner place. When that happens, the being that we become will automatically radiate out and be attractive to those that are on some level interested or resonant with us. We’re not going to attract all kinds of people with all kinds of interests. I think people will be similarly interested in what we are doing will be attracted to us. But we first have to create a way in and a magnetic centre.  If we are a changing community from what I’ve sensed these last few years, formative steps is taking place, our next step is a deepening identification of who we are. Meditation or prolonged focus on an idea with meditation is the process to become more at one at Oneness Wednesdays. That is my idea.  And out of that, fun music, ball game, a barbeque, picnic can grow out of it. We need that centre. We need that meditative focus.

I appreciate everyone ideas and am still wondering how all this is going to happen. Before this meeting is over, Linda and Pat: I wonder if you have some ideas of how the community will come together and how that will happen and if there is not a plan, none of this will happen. I remember Sanjara saying something about future Oneness Wednesdays being used for SDC one night and the Board another night. So I’m not sure what the process is for turning over the responsibility of these evenings to somebody else – I would like that clear.

I find myself agreeing to what Troi is saying – to generate that strong sense of group identity and integrity. That we form a meditative process, that is probably a good start.I agree with Troi whole-heartedly. I would like to see more meditation. I want to come to a community that feels safe.

I believe as Troi and Brian have recommended that meditation is the route to go with these Wednesday evenings. I would suggest that we form a Committee to organize these evenings… who can assign the different roles much like what is done at our Sunday Services – someone to greet, someone to open/close, someone to light the candle….

I have a couple of comments….Meditation is certainly something that I would whole-heartedly be behind as a way to continue somehow and this is mentioned by many people many times this evening. I think that we are gaining some sense of direction to start with perhaps and a team approach which we could bring up at the the AGM and see if there is interest. We can put it in our report or something.  We can talk to Sanjara about that or get something in the newsletter. But meditation, I think it was February – Peggy Muncaster presented a meditation series and it was excellent and we tried to let people know, we tried to make it interesting, but hardly any one came. And so I’m wondering – we’ll have to discuss – whatever team forms, they have to decide how to present the meditation in a way that’s going to get people there. (perhaps with themes). The other thing, I don’t think it would be disastrous to let these Wednesdays lie fallow – We usually do this in the Summer any ways . The only thing I worry about is that we could lose this night, so it’s a double edged sword. I don’t see anything wrong with letting it rest for a while and see what rolls up – what needs, what interests – so this is something that I’ve felt all along.

Whoever is moderating can actually start making comments or suggestions to the body – Come on – we need people to come in and host Oneness Wednesdays – We need to invite participation and I just want to respond to something Lorna said. Maybe we won’t get the people on the committee but on the other hand, we need people to be engaged in this community. We have to cultivate interest, cultivate involvement, “Come on… with enthusiasm!”

Closing of the Circle & the Candle – by John vanden Heuvel

 

5 Large Questions Sheet inviting people to contribute:

 

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