Nov 30, 2013

Community chaplaincy with women – ARISE

At the recent MCC Ontario fall meeting held in Kitchener ON, I attended a workshop called ARISE.  The description of the workshop was as follows:  "Join us for an interactive forum, including a performance of "Our Story", a play that features women from all walks of life and their experiences."  About 20 women attended the workshop.

"Our Story" is a dramatic presentation by Community Chaplain, Shauna Mayer, and her group of volunteers.  It was followed by a question and answer session. ARISE provides a supportive community for women who have experienced abuse, addiction or imprisonment in the Hamilton, Toronto and Kitchener area. With short skits, music and visual props we heard about the issues affecting marginalized women.  Bricks representing chaos, control, hatred, abuse, fear, trauma, pain, lies, despair, scars and doubt were stacked up representing a barrier. As transformation occurs within the lives of the women, the barriers are broken down and the bricks, now representing peace, freedom, kindness, respect, love, healing, forgiveness, truth, hope, beauty and trust are placed in a circle representing community. 

ARISE offers weekly support groups, one to one mentoring, retreats, practical support and creative arts workshops.  

ARISE is currently without a place to call home and the volunteers from the Toronto, Kitchener and Hamilton areas travel to meet with groups of women in various locations.  They are hoping to find a central location through which they can continue their ministry.  In the past 5 years the number of clients they work with has doubled.  Currently a fundraiser is being planned for April 2014 - a Toronto Art Exhibit which will feature photographic art taken by the women in the ARISE community.  All funds will go to continuing supportive programs for women.

Sharing seesion with the 7 women from ARISE
If you are interesting in booking a performance of "Our Story" for your congregation or school please contact Shauna Mayer at 416-540-5064.

More information and links can be found on the MCC Ontario Website.

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