Faith Communities are among key institutions that the Compassionate City Charter UK identifies as agents of change to create a more supportive environment for people who are going through dying, death, loss and grief. The vision is to have at least one dedicated group in every such community supporting end-of-life care.
Despite the shift to a secular society over the past generation, Churches, Synagogues, Temples and Mosques remain important community hubs. They can excel both as sources of comfort and support to their members and adherents, and to provide a channel for reaching the broader community.
Compassionate Ottawa has put together a small dedicated team to foster linkages with Faith Communities throughout the city. We are building on the collective experience of Pastoral Care teams and working in partnership to create a loving and supportive environment for conversations about the end-of-life.
About Faith Communities
Early in the life of Compassionate Ottawa, Churches began to approach us. We have held several information sessions about our grassroots movement in Churches, Synagogues and Temples. Invariably we have been warmly welcomed and received with great interest. In several cases our initial presentations have resulted in workshops to explore in more depth how to encourage conversations on difficult subjects in order to discern individual hopes, wishes and beliefs.
Our team of volunteers is now exploring approaches to broaden our outreach and the scope and breadth of our activities.
We are interested in partnering with religious leaders and educators to explore the ethical, spiritual and theological foundations of a Compassionate City. We want to partner with the Ottawa Pastoral Care Training Program and the Ottawa Lay School of Theology and Spirituality in order to build the availability of curricular materials exploring end-of-life care. And we want to intensify our dialogue with Faith Communities across the city to build awareness of the important role that religious institutions must play to make Ottawa truly a Compassionate City.
Why are We Doing This?
Compassionate Ottawa aims to improve Ottawans’ quality of life by profoundly changing our collective attitudes to the needs of the seriously ill and those who are dying. Our culture denies our mortality, and in doing so we fail to confront the difficult and emotional reality of approaching the end-of-life.
In our urbanized, secular society many live alone, and most lack connections to the traditional pillars of support that once supported our communities. Faith Communities are well positioned to provide a safe, loving and comfortable environment in which friends may care for friends, and people of all ages and stages may explore their own future wishes.
Our Faith Team includes individuals who are well-connected with religious organizations in the city and beyond, as well as people with interest and experience in various aspects of Pastoral Care. We strive to increase our own understanding and make others aware of the role that Faith Communities must play to build a Compassionate City. We would be delighted to welcome new volunteers with a passion for spreading the message to parishes and congregations across the city. Please contact us at https://compassionateottawa.ca/contact-us/.
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