Compassion and Courage – March 22nd

From Compassion to Courage;
From Prayer to Prayerful Action
A Gathering to Share a Meal and our Thoughts.

The past few months have been increasingly filled with voices that polarize and isolate, encouraging anxiety and mistrust, fostering fear of “others,” of strangers … and now, the unthinkable has happened — six of our fellow Canadians, Muslim men at prayer, were gunned down. Since then Jewish cemeteries have been defaced, and threats of violence have been made against Muslim students at a Canadian university.

In this anxious and confusing time, WAICC—the Wolfville and Area InterChurch Council—would like to offer a space for people to gather, share a meal, hear voices asking questions that are on many hearts, and discuss ways we can come together and stay together in the midst of it all.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017, 5pm-9pm at The Wolfville Farmers’ Market. 

Come at 5pm with an ingredient for our Stone Soup, meet one another, share a soup supper at 6pm.

At 7pm, the more formal part of the Gathering will begin with speakers sharing how we can sustain compassion, challenge fear, build resilience and walk in solidarity with our neighbours. Small group discussions will follow.

Cost? Freewill offering to cover expenses.

If you would like to bring a contribution for our shared soup, please do – a package of pasta, a can of beans (kidney, black, mung, lentils, etc.), fresh or frozen vegetables, etc. We will add these ingredients to the soups (and we’ll have options for vegan, vegetarian, etc.)

Everyone is welcome to participate in this gathering—who knows where it will take us?

Our speakers will briefly address  the following topics:

  • Anna Robbins: How people of faith or goodwill find or make meaning in the midst of this situation? How do we understand and practice empathy and compassion?
  • Andrew Biro: Understanding the use of fear and scarcity to build political power, and the dangers of the use of media and language in the current climate
  • Robin McGee: The heightened anxiety of our times, and the impact of it on our psyches and well-being and how we live with one another
  • Suzanne Handley: How we, as individuals and as a community, can respond to acts of violence and terrorism, such as the shootings in the mosque in Quebec City


Suzanne Handley is a teacher and writer who lives with her family on a farm in Berwick. She teaches grade 7, 8, and 9 Social Studies and French. Suzanne also writes novels, two of which have been published, with a third currently in the works. All her books deal with questions of faith, identity, and self-knowledge. Suzanne has been a part of the Wolfville Muslim community since 2004. 

Andrew Biro is a professor and head of the Politics department at Acadia University. He is also affiliated with Acadia’s graduate program in Social and Political Thought, and the undergraduate program in Environ-mental and Sustainability Studies. His research and teaching interests are in the areas of environmental politics, critical theory, political economy, and politics and the media.

Robin McGee is a Registered Clinical Psychologist, mother, wife, educator and friend. Living in Port Williams, Nova Scotia, she has been a dedicated clinician in health and education settings for over 25 years. She has worked in public mental health services, is currently a consultant with the AVRSB, and has a small private practice. She is a recipient of the IWK Award for Outstanding Practice in Clinical Psychology.

Anna Robbins serves as Associate Professor of Theology, Culture and Ethics, and as Vice-President of Acadia Divinity College in Wolfville. In 2000, she was appointed to the faculty of the London School of Theology, teaching theology and contemporary culture and was involved, as theological consultant, with several organizations in the UK, including Theos, Christians in Politics, Tearfund, and the Evangelical Alliance. Anna speaks and writes widely, with a passion to help people to engage matters of contemporary culture and faith. 

Our Agenda for the Evening

5-6pm  Preparation of Stone Soup; people are welcome to gather, meet, talk as the soup is cooking

6-7pm Supper and more conversation


  • – Formal welcome
  • -Presentations by our four speakers
  • -Themes, questions, ideas from the presentations

8-9pm Small group discussions

  • 8-8:20            First round
  • 8:20-8:40     Second round


  • Harvesting Ideas
  • Wrap-up

 9pm –Close of the Gathering

(but you are welcome to stay and continue conversations)

The more I think about the human suffering in our world and my desire to offer a healing response, the more I realize how crucial it is not to allow myself to become paralyzed by feelings of helplessness and guilt. More important than ever is to be very faithful to my vocation to do well the few things I am called to do and hold on to the joy and peace they bring me. I must resist the temptation to let the forces of darkness pull me into despair and make me one more of their many victims.”   ― Writer, theologian Henri J.M. Nouwen

[gravityform id=”3″ title=”true” description=”true”]

Similar Posts