I was so pleased, on the very first day of my trip, to be able to meet with the lovely people from the Canadian Spiritual Emergence Service (SES). What a great way to start what I just know is going to be an amazing trip!
The SES, which also acts as a referral service, has official charitable status. They have taken over, in the last couple of years, from Janet Taylor, who for many, many years did a sterling job all on her own. Now they have a team of four and are working on exciting plans to develop the Service. Their original vision was to create a centre, a place where people could be supported and cared for while going through spiritual emergence and emergency. This is something that so many of us working in the area would dearly love to see, ideally with a simple model that could be recreated anywhere in the world. In reality, however, actually getting such a huge project off the ground was beset with all kinds of difficulties, including not managing to get charitable status for it.
My sense, however, is that what the team are working towards now will better serve those in need, partly because when someone is in crisis they’re usually not able to travel; they need support locally. Today the SES’s vision is to create more of a virtual community, which of course will be able to reach out to people, wherever they are in Canada, and far beyond that. The internet is the key tool and a website specifically designed for that will be a big asset.
So here we are, spiritual crisis or emergency services operating on both sides of the Atlantic. As we talked about how we can support each other and learn from each other, there was such a powerful sense, for all of us I think, that essentially we’re doing the same thing, helping those going through and recovering from spiritual emergence and emergency. And we are talking the same language. It feels like one big family of kindred spirits. Like nearly all of us involved with the UK Spiritual Crisis Network, they too have all been through their own crises and are motivated by wanting to help others.
I was struck by just how valuable it is for people anywhere in the world to be able to pick up the phone and speak with someone who understands what they’re going through and can help cut through the often huge sense of isolation.
I came away excited about possibilities of future collaboration, such as creating a loose international umbrella network of national bodies and possibly organising a virtual international symposium, that, thanks to the internet, can be truly global in scope.
Thank you SES for your lovely warm welcome and the wonderful work you’re doing!