Well, hello there!

During the month of June I’ve been meeting many of you. What a warm welcome! It has been such a gift to get to know you, and to know more about what the PiE community means to you. This community is so vibrant and alive. I am excited to spend this time with you!

As Jessica settles into her parental leave, I will be settling in here for the coming months to serve as your interim pastor.

Many of you are meeting me for the first time, so I thought I would take a little time to introduce myself.

A Wandering Christian…

I spent the first 20 years of my life rooted in the Catholic church. In my twenties I came out as queer, and found myself no longer able to fully participate in my congregation. Later I met my wife and together we wanted to be a part of a faith community that was radically inclusive. We visited many churches, eventually settling into the United Church of Canada, where I now work in an all-age experiential worship community.

Through my wanderings as a person in exile from my Catholic upbringing, I have come to deeply appreciate the different ways denominations and communities worship, grow, and connect to the sacred together.

Some communities emphasise the meditative, repetitive nature of liturgy. Others the flexibility and creativity of worship that is always different. Some practice sitting in silence and contemplation as community. Others find presence in singing together as one…

Sharing our traditions helps us experience the divine in different ways, from different angles, and through new spiritual practices. I am looking forward to all the ways we will share, learn and worship together at PiE!

How can we build community that encourages and nurtures each of us to do good easily?

I am passionate about supporting people and organisations working for social justice. I have worked directing the One World program, where participants would spend 6 months learning about poverty and injustice in communities in Ghana, El Salvador and Mexico. I currently help run Camp Micah, a week long social justice camp for high school youth. In that work, and in my life, I often wonder about how social justice, wellness, and joy dance together. I wonder about Catholic Worker Peter Maurin’s idea of building societies and communities, “that would make it easier to be (and do) good”.

In this time, the need for radical change in our relationship to the land and to each other is very overwhelming. Many of us live with climate change fears on our hearts. The righting of relationships seems far off. In communities like PiE we have so many opportunities to share energy, support, talents and skills to help each other find the balance of joy, wellness and justice.

I am often busy – like all of us.

The birth of my first child brought a drastic shift in the sounds and rhythms of my life. In the chaos and exhaustion of raising an infant, I found myself trying to reconnect to my spiritual practices. Though I had always connected to meditation and contemplative prayer, attempting these with a crawling 10 month old highlighted for me that life had changed, and I was going to need to find time for myself in brand new ways!

We now have three children – aged 10, 7 and 4. We strive to find realistic, manageable ways to stay connected to the sacred together and as individuals. It isn’t easy!

I turn to simple things to ground me when life is busy – growing fresh vegetables in my garden, biking through the forest, making fresh pasta with friends, swimming in a lake with my children.

I am looking forward to these months of growing together with you.

I am excited to be here, supporting and working together with you. There is so much good work happening here at PiE. I look forward to long chats over coffee, quiet contemplative moments worshipping together, and breaking bread. Let’s make pasta sometime 🙂

Pamela Girardi is an interim pastor at PiE. She will be covering Jessica’s parental leave until the end of March, 2020.

You can reach her at pamela@pastorsinexile.org

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