Upcoming Events

Beginning | Personal Pilgrimage with Karen Hollis

May 25, 2021 | 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm |
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Walking | Personal Pilgrimage with Karen Hollis

Jun 29, 2021 | 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm |
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Coming Home | Personal Pilgrimage with Karen Hollis

Jul 27, 2021 | 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm |
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Hildegard of Bingen with Maureen Wild

Sep 17, 2021 | 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm |
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St. Francis of Assisi with Maureen Wild

Oct 3, 2021 | 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm |
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Photo by Damien DUFOUR Photographie on Unsplash

With all its sham drudgery and broken dreams it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful, Strive to be happy.
Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

On Gabriola right now, the dogwood trees are exploding with blossoms. The eagles are settling in with their new offspring in meticulously constructed nests. The ocean is opening into the reception of boats, humans swimming, fish spawning, tides falling in and out and Nature is bursting with new life within! We’re preparing our gardens for planting and beginning to anticipate the growth of food for our own sustenance and the sustenance of others. In the next month all of us who want to be vaccinated will have that available to us.

Spring, for many, brings hope. In times such as these, hope is not necessarily easily accessible. We need to seek it out somehow in our own unique ways. Find it in unusual places, perhaps even places in which we would not usually search. The journey necessitates intentional and courageous pursuit.

Ecumenically speaking, then, how do we pursue the journey in a personal, spiritual and meaningful manner while still maintaining our individual thoughts, feelings and physical expressions?

The Ecumenical Society on Gabriola (GES) encourages participation in spiritual experiences. Our programmes invite exploration of traditional and modern ideas, found both in the wisdom of ancient religious traditions and spiritual paths, as well as the Sciences.

A pilgrimage is defined as a “journey of exploration into an unknown place. We invite you to join us on that journey of exploration where you might find new meaning about yourself others, Nature or a higher good.” This practice can lead you to a personal transformation. Karen Hollis, Minister for Christ Church on Gabriola has created and designed such a pilgrimage.

GES will be offering this programme for the next 3 months beginning in May. The Pilgrimage is divided into 3 manageable parts: Beginning, Walking, and Coming Home. With each section there is a booklet that guides our path for a 3 hour(ish) journey. And then, a beautiful opportunity to connect (on Zoom) with Karen and others who have gone through the journey. You can do the process on your own or gather together with others, all the time remembering that ultimately… the journey is yours!

Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant: they too have their story.

Reflections in Times Such as These

What do you expect to discover as you embark on this personal pilgrimage? What works for you? How do you break away from the challenges that are before us and find joy peace and calm even in the midst of absolute chaos? Please tell us your story…

  • My pilgrimage has been confined to the walks that I take on Gabriola Island. As I encounter view and take pictures of the tiniest, beautiful flower that emerges along the pathway I am in awe of the beauty and abundance in our natural world. I am also aware that I have a responsibility to protect our natural world as much as possible so that it can continue to flourish, nurture and beautify our environment.
  • I am grateful for this opportunity to embark on a personal pilgrimage right here on our beautiful Island of Gabriola. For me, this will provide the impetus to step out of the ordinary routine of my life and while wrapped in the beauty of nature, continue to seek a deeper, more interconnected meaning. Grounded in Mother Earth, deeply present in body as I walk and reflect, I desire to use the experience as a doorway into a new way of seeing, a new way of being. This is essential, I believe, as we struggle to relate with one another, support one another, love one another and live in peace and harmony as we rise out of the pain and struggle we have all been experiencing during this worldwide pandemic.
  • When I think about ‘pilgrimage’ I consider the long, challenging and adventuresome journey of the people who wandered from Europe to North America in the 15 th century. It was never easy, yet they each embarked on the exploration with curiosity, commitment and determination, seeking the unknown and believing in the help and support of “the Divine”. Embarking on a religious pilgrimage gives us the opportunity to be supported through and guided towards our own  personal reflection where the Divine lies within us all.


You are a Divine being.  You have been created out of Divinity through Divine actions and are the physical embodiment of Divinity itself walking upon the Divine earth for a few breaths until you return to your non-physical Divine existence.  If you have forgotten this, remember; it is very important!

In the spiritual world the term “action” is a treasure box, filled with possibility, challenge, and mystery.  In sanskrit, the term for action is “karma”; karma simply means action.  Yet, contrary to popular misunderstanding, our karma is neither good nor bad, it is simply action, but it includes all of our actions occurring at all of the levels of our being.  Whether it is a gross action such as eating a meal or speaking to someone, or subtle actions including thoughts and the emotions that precede thoughts, all actions are karma.  And each of these actions, indeed each and every action you have done throughout your life has left its residue in the deep recesses of your consciousness where they create habit patterns that colour our future actions; this is the law of karma.  If we could make a pie chart from all of your past actions, categorizing them into various slices of helpful and unhelpful deeds, we would have a beautiful chart that could be titled “My Personality”.  And if the pile of actions that fell into the category of “compassion” is really big, it is very likely that you will act from a place of compassion in the present because you have been practicing for this moment all of your life.  Similarly, if the pile of actions that fell in the category of “fear” is even bigger, then fear’s paralyzing grip will colour so many of your thoughts, your words, your physicalmovements.  This is the law of karma.

As beings on the path of spiritual awareness, we all want to do good in the world.  We all want to engage in helpful actions and to avoid unhelpful actions both for ourselves and for the world.    With even a simple understanding of the nature of karma, we can begin to understand the reasons for why we sometimes cause harm; it is the hand of our past reaching out with a firm grip and binding us to our old habits.  But if we have the courage and the strength, we CAN break from the bondage of our past and walk in our Divine birthright.

The probability of our success will be greatly enhanced if we harness the power of our entire being.  For example:

Unhelpful Scenario: You lash out in anger toward someone because of the momentum of your addiction to fear. This is not helpful in the present AND it further strengthens your addiction.

Slightly Helpful Scenario: You do not lash out in anger with your words or physical actions, but still harbour fear to the point where you are simply suppressing the urge to be angry.  This is perhaps better for your friend, yet you are still cultivating the subtle karma of fear through the action of your thoughts.

More Helpful Scenario: Trying to see the Divinity within yourself and your friend, because you are practicing doing so, fear does not arise in your mind with enough force to colour your words or actions regardless of external circumstances. Yet there may still be a twinge of emotion beckoning you to return to the comfort of your old friend fear.

Most Helpful Scenario: Having practiced seeing, experiencing, and understanding through your Divine Eyes, love, compassion, and empathy have displaced fear in your emotions, in your thoughts, in your words, and in your physical movements regardless of external conditions. 

To live a life of complete Divine awareness is extremely rare.  Even Ghandi described how he struggled throughout his life with the tension between his inner thoughts and his external actions.  While it may not be easy to reach the highest height, it is very easy to begin the journey and to make phenomenal changes in your life and in the world!

Begin simply, pick an action – your daily prayers, making a meal for loved one, walking in nature.  Before you begin that act, generate the emotion of Divine Love in your heart.  Let that emotion grow strong so that it penetrates your mind and thoughts.  Then, engage in the act in such a way that your heart, mind, and physical action are harmonized in the Divine Reality.  It is said there are only three things needed for success in this sacred endeavour: practice, practice, practice.  The more you practice seeing the world through Divine Eyes, the deeper the habit will become.

Remember!  You are Divinity itself!  Through your actions, you have the ability to create Heaven on earth.  Never stop!


Mind, Body, Spirit

April 9, 2021

We are all connected in this world. As individuals, as community and as we create reciprocal relationships with our natural environment. We are all connected in this […]

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Spirituality of Action

March 8, 2021

We hope this last month was a good one for all of us here on Gabriola. The winter months have the potential to be bleak, depressing, anxiety […]

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The Guest House

February 18, 2021

This month’s article highlights a deep and meaningful poem from Rumi. It is entitled “The Guest House” and calls to us because it invites us to consider […]

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GES Carolling Event

January 23, 2021

Since it was impossible to gather in person for the Ecumenical Society Annual Carolling evening, it was decided by the GES Board that we would keep the […]

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Buddhist – Christian Perspectives on Contemplative Practices and Religious Belonging

November 25, 2020

Gabriola Ecumenical would like to introduce this online event which may be of interest to some of our members. December 1-2, 2020 | RSVP Required Contemplative practices […]

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Weekly Devotional Gathering with Gary

September 26, 2020

Now is the time for upliftment, joy and devotion. You are invited to a weekly online Devotional Gathering. Share an uplifting prayer, poem, quote, song, chant, or […]

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“Spirit in Action, in Times Such As These”

September 26, 2020

 Gabriola Ecumenical Society Still Here – Still Planning – Still Dreaming Wow!! Times have been really crazy lately! Our comfortable ways of connecting in person have been […]

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All Events Postponed

June 9, 2020

Due to this season of social distancing, all Gabriola Ecumenical Society events are postponed until further notice. As Bonnie Henry says, “This is our time to be […]

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Easter Sunrise Personal Retreat

April 11, 2020

Sunday, April 12 is Easter Sunday in the Christian tradition and the beginning of a 7 week Easter season. Under ordinary circumstances, churches hold various different celebrations, […]

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Reclaiming Dance for our Spirit

January 8, 2020

Drumming the Earth with our Feet . . . that was Don Buskirk’s description of the Gabriola Ecumenical Society’s first event for 2020, at the NetLoft on […]

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Ukuleles joined our 15th annual Christmas Caroling

December 13, 2019

  Spirit in action … with elders of our community, couples, moms with little ones, single women and men, and five ukulele players leading this joyful crowd […]

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Giving Thanks Dinner

November 26, 2019

Giving Thanks Dinner October 20 2019 We give thanks! Once again members of Gabriola Ecumenical Society and community members gathered together at the Gabriola Golf and Country […]

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Living Dances, Ancient Roots

November 26, 2019

“Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it.” Rabindranath Tagore A cancellation of an event scheduled for Bethlehem Centre […]

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Launch Event for Spirit in Action!

September 27, 2019

Once again the Gabriola Ecumenical Society got their new season of programs off to a beautiful start with the September 19 Program Launch.   Some of us […]

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Announcing Our Theme for 2019-2020!

September 12, 2019

The GES Board and Planning Team are excited to announce that the program theme for September 2019 to June 2020 will be: “Spirit in Action: Healing Ourselves, […]

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