Theresa, Mary, Delinda, Barbara, Hitomi, Maddison, Fairy and I(Katie) spent time on retreat wondering together about Psalm 23.
Mary was asked to tell us a bit about the retreat. Here are her thoughts:
We managed to fit into one van(it was tight). Rivendell was very peaceful. You could go for a walk. We all had our own room and bathroom. We were welcomed to their community’s 5 o’clock prayer. Then Fairy and Teresa made us dinner. After dinner we had our first prayer session together like our regular Wednesday prayers We sang and we heard a bible reading and we prayed for each other. The next day we had activates and more time to relax and pray together. Then in the evening I (Mary) wore my beautiful dress. We had banana splits for dessert; we made a new friend at Rivendell who joined us for dessert.
We heard different Bible readings on our retreat and we began and ended with the 23rd Psalm.
We were reminded that Jesus is with us in hard times and good times. Sometimes our hard times are very scary like when we are sick or someone we love is dying, and sometimes our hard times are frustrating like when we want to go out but the rest of the house is too tired and wants to stay in, sometimes we finish a job and wonder what God has for us next. In all of this and more Jesus is with us. He is with us in the good times too, sharing a meal together, laughing, praying around the table and going on retreat with our friends.
We ended the retreat the way we began it praying for each other. Mary was goodness and Teresa was love. They put their hands on our shoulder’s and Katie said “Goodness and Love have found you. Jesus is with you in the darkest valley leading you to the good green grass.”
Our Closing Blessing:
May the peace of the Jesus go with us,
wherever He sends us.
May He guide us through the wilderness,
protect us through the darkest valley.
May He bring us home rejoicing
at the wonders He has shown us.
May He bring us home rejoicing
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
On January 11 we celebrated the life of Ron Evans who was part of the L’Arche Greater Vancouver community for more than 20 years. During the service various people shared their favourite memories of Ron and his gifts to our community. Here are excerpts of those memories as shared by Denise Haskett, our Community Leader/Executive Director, Tammi Kitching, who was a house-mate of Ron’s at Creation House and Keith and Judy Evans, Ron’s brother and sister-in-law.
I wanted to share a few words about Ron’s journey in L’Arche. It is, I believe, a divine coincidence that at our Advent Day of prayer in early December, Hollee Card who Community Leader when we welcomed Ron, wanted to share with us the story of his coming. It was very moving to hear it that day. Of course we did not know at the time, that less than two months later we would be celebrating his life together. She wanted to share Ron’s story because the theme of the day was “How do we make room in hearts for peace?” In relation to that, we reflected on a few other questions…how do we make room for and welcome the person who is in front of us…in the community, in our family? How do we make room for the stranger? We talked about how, as we welcome the other, we are actually welcoming Jesus.
Hollee shared that at the time we met Ron, the family he was living with could no longer continue to support him and the ministry was urgently looking for a place for Ron to live. They knocked on our door and in fact there was no ‘room at the inn’ except one tiny room up in Unity House which was technically too small according to licensing standards. Also we were only licensed to support 11 people in the Shiloah building and welcoming Ron made it 12. There was some thought that maybe he could be part of September House and just have his bedroom up in Unity. However the team at September House was not too sure about the idea and they had a house meeting to discuss it. Bill Collins, who lived in September House, and was one of the founding core members at L’Arche, was listening quietly to the conversation and not saying a word….then suddenly he got up, went downstairs to his room and came back with a photo of his bowling team. He pointed out Ron and said…Ron is my friend, we should welcome Ron. Well that clinched it. An assistant in Unity House who had a room not much bigger than the tiny room that was empty, agreed to move very quickly to give Ron his room and the licensing department broke their own rules so Ron could move in with us. Looking back it was clear that Ron was meant to be with us and the Holy Spirit paved the way and helped us to make room both in our hearts and practically. We immediately fell in love with Ron and he fit into community life so beautifully drawing people to him with his infectious smile, his laugher and his vulnerability.
So in June 1994 Ron moved to L’Arche to be part of September House (which is now Bethel House) and had his bedroom up in Unity House. Ron needed a bigger bedroom and L’Arche needed a new house with more accessible rooms so in September 1996 we opened a new house which was named Emily House. Ron moved to Emily House with all his housemates from September House, Bill, Rosie, Philip and Rick. In 1999 he moved with his friend Bill to live in Creation House with Craig and Arthur. All these years Ron enjoyed being part of the Emmaus Center and the fun activities there. He loved baking, making cards, helping to prepare Friday lunches and going on outings. In 2001 he retired from the Emmaus Center and was part of the Elders program which was based in Creation House where he could live life at a much slower pace.
We are so grateful for Ron’s peaceful, gentle presence for over 20 years in our Community. We are all richer for having known him. I would also like to take this opportunity to Thank Ron’s family for their faithfulness and kindness to our community and heartfelt thanks to the Creation team as they walked with him with such tenderness and love.
What is meant by the word disability? For Raffaella Monteroso, from L’Arche Italy, it means when your father grows old and there’s nothing you can do but love him.
As L’Arche celebrates World Down Syndrome Day, we honor all those with Down Syndrome who, like Raffaella, are taking care of their aging parents.
Imagine the world differently.
L’Arche Greater Vancouver’s
STATIONS OF THE CROSS
Are available for sale
Created by L’Arche Greater Vancouver’s Mary Hillhouse, Caroline Short & Alex Richmond
The set of 16 4 x 6 cards depict Jesus on the day of his crucifixion
Each station has an additional reflection by the artists.
Call 604-435-9544 to order your L’Arche Stations of the Cross. $10 each.
The set of cards is only $10!