L’Arche Greater Vancouver welcomes Peter McKinley in the role of Director of Day Programs as Jen Kazda prepares to leave to further her education. Peter has had a long history with L’Arche starting with L’Arche Winnipeg in 1995 where he started as a House Assistant and then took on the role of House Leader. In 1997 he went to L’Arche Lambeth in England where he used his gifts in several roles, including Day Program Manager. Peter returned to Canada in February of this year as a Live-In Assistant at L’Arche Greater Vancouver.
Recently we asked Peter about his thoughts in coming to this new role:
LGV: What are your goals for this new role?
Peter: Initially, I am keen to learn from Jen about her role and how she saw it and hope the transition between Jen and myself goes smoothly. I also look forward to exploring with those already in the day programs on how we may be able to expand further into the wider community as well as finding ways that may improve our services especially for those in L’Arche Vancouver who are ageing. Emmaus and Neighbours Helping Neighbours are exciting and well run programs and I am thankful to be a part of their future.
LGV: You’ve been with L’Arche for a number of years. What is it about L’Arche that you like?
Peter: Is it trivial to say, “because it’s fun.” I don’t think so. Look, like in most organisations or companies you will have your good days and your bad. Recently, I ran into one of our core members who said, “I’m not talking to you, you should go back to Winnipeg.” He was upset that I was taking over as the new Director of Day Programs and as he had his own ideas of who should fill the role. I knew this and replied, “I will when they have a good hockey team again.” Being an avid sports fan, this core member immediately started telling me about the Jets and their rumoured return to the NHL. I then asked, “I thought you weren’t talking to me?” He just looked at me and we both laughed. It may take some time for this core member to accept me but the point is is that he felt comfortable enough and empowered to tell me the truth. And that’s what L’Arche does. It gives core members a secure and nurturing environment where it is OK to speak your mind and where opinions matter. L’Arche allows core members a voice and whether that voice is a shout or a whisper it will be heard. And that’s the fun part. Relationships built on truth and trust.