By Kristy Bell
On August 20th, St. Georges partnered with the Comox Valley Transition Society to welcome First Nation Elder and Shaker Minister, Anne Bob to conduct a traditional Shaker service. The service had forty-one individuals attend, with an equal representation of Indigenous and non-Indigenous.
The Shaker faith blends Christianity with First Nations spirituality. The cross, candles and bells are all part of this service. The Shakers stomp their feet while sending prayers to the creator in the Hul'q'umi'num' language. Similar to cleansing with water, the Shaker uses the light from candles to baptise, cleanse and send prayers. During this service, three chairs were set at the front of the fellowship hall. Throughout the service, three individuals would sit and the Shaker would cleanse with light and prayer.
With St. Georges being a hub for our community, a very diverse crowd was in attendance. It was beautiful to see our street population walk in the hall and know they were welcome. The most moving moment during the service was when an Indigenous woman whom struggles with addictions, homelessness and the loss of her children went and took a seat. She was full of warmth and gratitude for being able to attend and experience this service.
This service was not only a Shaker ceremony it was also a ceremony of reconciliation. This was a beautiful day where Indigenous and non-Indigenous people grounded in faith came together to share in prayer.