Here at Highlands United Church we feel God is doing something special. Together, we make up more than just a church — we make up a faith community, a family, a gigantic support network. And families need to spend time together.
This weekend is steeped in stories of becoming people of vibrant inspiring faith.Listen to our speakers tell the stories that made them who they are. They will take us into the 'wild' of their lives and share with us where the fire that burns within them comes from. And when we listen to their stories, maybe - just maybe- it will resonate with ours. And we will come away not only inspired by other’s stories but more in touch with our own story and God’s activity within it.
There is something for everyone on the FaithFest weekend: worship and music to fill your spirit, great food to fill your body, inspiring speakers for your journey, workshops to engage you, and a Mardis Gras dance and party for just plain fun!
Highlands United Church - Live, Grow and Thrive!
Block One 10:30 - 11:45
1. Textile Art Carol has a passion for diverting textiles from the landfill and using those textiles to create art. As part of Highlands Visual Arts team, she creates liturgical art in many shapes and forms, using scrap fabric in a variety of ways. These creations are on display throughout the year in Highlands Sanctuary. Join Carol for a fun morning as we weave, glue and stitch up a community art piece using diverted, no-longer-loved and discarded fabrics. Carol Smith is the Creative Director for Our Social Fabric (OSF), a textile recycling initiative located in Vancouver. OSF’s mission is to divert unwanted textiles from the landfill and into the hands of creatives. Carol also works in Highlands Church Office when she’s not thinking about her next creative project.
2. A Picture Tells a 1000 Words
This workshop will focus on providing you with the tools to turn your creative vision into a striking collection of images. Mark will introduce a number of ways to foster creative imagery and allow you to collect images that stand out in a crowd. This will be a hands on session focusing on the basics of colleting and processing digital images. Participants are encouraged to bring their own camera to the workshop.
Mark Steffens is a member of Highlands whose day job is the Director of Community Development at Mulgrave School. But his passion is photography and you can find his work at https://www.fotoguy.org/FOTOGUY (photo-guy) noun: a man with a camera who lives life in the moment and follows a journey attempting to capture each moment in an image.
3. Rhythm Stories All music tells a story if you listen. Come join a drum circle and see how we can have a conversation without saying a word!
Michael Soderling regularly drums with Sunday morning worship and the Spirit Singers.
4. Into the wild on the Camino de Santiago
With photos, poetry and reflection, Janet and Colleen will share their experiences walking on the Camino de Santiago in Portugal and Spain last summer. You are nobody to the hills or the thick boughs heavy with greenery. You are no longer a role, or a status, not even an individual, but a body, a body that feels sharp stones on the paths, the caress of long grass and the freshness of the wind. When you walk, the world has neither present nor future: nothing but the cycle of mornings and evenings. Always the same thing to do all day: walk. Frederick Gros
Janet Gear is on the Faculty of the Vancouver School of Theology and Colleen Blair is the Minister for Seniors and Hospitality at Highlands
Block Two 1:30 - 2:30
5. Exploring the Wild We Live In
Within a few minutes of Highlands Church is the Capilano Canyon - now tamed by Cleveland Dam but still a world apart from Edgemont Village. Allow yourself to "get lost" in this natural wonderland under the guidance of Lindsay Bottomer and come away with some appreciation of the complex history, geology, and built environment of the canyon. Participants need to have a moderate level of fitness and sturdy footwear.
Lindsay Bottomer has travelled and worked for over 40 years as a professional geologist. He has led numerous public interest geological excursions in the Lower Mainland and Howe Sound corridor.
6. The Howling Wolf (Storytelling and Art) Join Gordon as he tells the story of the wolf brothers and the deer that sacrificed its life to help us live. He will sing the wolf song, and then lead participants in a guided drawing of the wolf.
Gordon Dick is a member of the Tseil Waututh Nation and a child of Takaya, the Great Wolf.
7. Sing With No Music? No Way!!
Some of the finest singers in the world have never had the fun and joy of making up music on the spot. So what, you say? So, the creativity that is offered by improvisation affects all the other singing you will do: using style and inference, understanding movement of melody, using repeated chord progressions as reference. You don't need any special skills to participate, but you MUST be willing to sing by yourself in front of the rest of the group. Come and explore--in a totally non-threatening way!-- a skill that most people never get a chance to try!
Janet Warren is a long-time member of the Highlands community, and directed her first choir here in 1968 As a classically trained singer, she learned with her early students the art of vocal jazz and scat singing. Janet still adjudicates choral festivals, directs Higher Ground Women’s Choir, and is a grateful member of the Spirit Singers
8. Beyond Trans 101 If not inside the church, then what, how, when, where, and why? Going beyond Trans 101. This conversation will assume the attendees will already have a basic understanding of what it means to be trans. Rather than use our time to learn terminology, will consider ways in which people of faith can practice inclusivity and respectful affirmation of gender-variant persons on the trans spectrum. If you are interested in attending this workshop, you are encouraged to view this YouTube video in advance. It provides a concise Trans 101 overview. It is through the lens of healthcare, but very relevant, nonetheless. (Duration: about 12 minutes.) Are you an ALLY? Being an ALLY to Trans, Intersex & Two Spirit People https://goo.gl/DV43xo Lisa Salazar See Lisa's bio on the home page.
Block Three 2:45 - 4:00
9. Take a walk on the wild side.....learn to dance the shim sham! The shim sham is a line dance for swing dancers -- no partner required. This choreographed dance is influenced by both tap and lindy hop dancing of the 1920s and 1930s. At this workshop you can tap into a bit of the wild within all and have fun as you practice this joyful dance to big band music under Elizabeth's leadership. Comfortable but sturdy flat shoes (not heels) are recommended.
Elizabeth Hudgins has been running a successful dance company, the Urban Beat Dance Co., with her husband in Vancouver for 20 years. They have taught tens of thousands of people to dance through their patient and lively instruction of salsa, swing, hip hop, ballroom, and Argentine tango. She has been attending Highlands United Church since 2002. http://www.urbanbeatdanceco.com/ 10.Onto the stage: the ultimate ‘Into the Wild” Doug and Gill welcome everyone to the sanctuary ‘stage’. We’ll take a Broadway song, teach it then choreograph it! Here’s a chance to try out your biggest Broadway smile, your jazz hands, and your ‘in the shower only’ voice.
Doug and Gill Irwin have directed many, many musicals here at Highlands, in schools and in the community. You will also see Gill conducting the Spirit Singers each Sunday (except when she gets Doug to stand in for her!)
11. Exploring the Wild We Live in(con’t from session 2)
12. Persian cooking Join Nahid as she demonstrates how to make (with your help!) a much loved traditional Persian dish. Learn about some of the common ingredients used in Persian cooking and hear a little about Nahid’s story.
Nahid Toosi came from Teheran, Iran in 1998. She loves cooking because it is a way to keep her family healthy and because food brings people together and is an expression of love!
13. It could have been otherwise: surprised by wildness
In this workshop you’ll be invited to put pen to paper, reflecting on key moments/chapters of your faith journey - where you may have surprised even yourself with the choices/guidance to move “Into the Wild” of your own God-given unfolding. We’ll have time for sharing and inspiring each other. No previous writing experience necessary.
Ray McGinnis is author of Writing the Sacred: A Psalm-inspired Path to Appreciating and Writing Sacred Poetry. The past two decades he's taught writing workshops to participants in churches, retreat centers and other settings in over 400 cities across North America. A former leader in youth & young adult ministry with the United Church of Canada, Ray also co-leads tours to Thailand through Worldpilgrim.ca