SOCIAL WORK AND SPIRITUALITY JUNE 25
1. This final day began with a full conference presentation by a first nations speaker. She is a Mi’kmaq teacher and social work prof (Ryerson). She talked about the importance of the relationship between spirituality and the land. I recognized we don’t understand the origins of Akashaloka beyond the schoolhouse story. We need to find out more about who was there before.
2. I went to 3 sessions , one on GLBT spirituality and the lack of research on their experience; the next on addressing spirituality with young people. This was fascinating in that they reported that youth in fact are deeply concerned about spiritual issues and highly cynical/disaffected with organized religion. They described a model for engaging youth on their terms. The last one was an exploration of the cultural dimension of grief and loss counselling, particularly where non-Christian constructs of death, afterlife and deity are present.
3. The day concluded with an inter-faith service with song, dance and short pieces from Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Quaker, Hindu and Buddhist (me) reps. This was moving and an apt formal conclusion to the event. I read the Metta Sutra, a theme which fit in perfectly with the whole event and the mood in the room.
4. In the evening a group of 10 or so of us stragglers went out to a lovely dinner in a Latino area. We had to drive through a street festival in the Caribbean area and dine in a Latino area - quite other-worldly after the way I’ve spent the last few days.