We gather regularly as a community to celebrate, build relationships, share news, support each other in times of joy and sorrow and to pray together.
Every community member has opportunities to share their gifts in various committees that plan and organize our community life.
As a L’Arche community we are connected with other L’Arche communities in Canada and internationally and there are opportunities to meet and visit each other.
The Need for Spirituality
Spirituality is key to our life as a L’Arche community and integral to our mission and identity. A portion of L’Arche’s Identity Statement reads, “Mutual relationships and trust in God are at the heart of our journey together.” That journey includes times of celebration, grief, concern for others, forgiveness and acceptance, where faith plays an important part.
People with developmental disabilities often have a desire to embrace faith and spirituality. In his writings, Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche, often refers to people with developmental disabilities as “people of the heart.” They desire true relationships and often have a simple and profound understanding of faith.
Support for people with developmental disabilities is often primarily focused on the individual’s housing, financial needs, work opportunities and social activity. Too often the individual’s spiritual needs are overlooked or not given the opportunity to develop.
Our Community Life Program
The purpose of L’Arche Greater Vancouver’s Community Life Program is to be attentive to, safeguard and nurture the spiritual life of the L’Arche community and to provide opportunities to gather as a community and build relationships.
L’Arche Greater Vancouver is rooted in the Christian faith; however, we welcome people of all faiths and those without a faith tradition.
Community members have the opportunity to discover and deepen their own spiritual journey through:
Weekly Community Prayer Gatherings
Each week clergy from various churches connected to L’Arche bring the Word and celebrate faith at L’Arche. Gatherings are held mid-week. People are supported to attend their own faith communities as well.
People with and without developmental disabilities participate in the meetings in ways that they are able. Scripture is read aloud and sometimes acted out, providing for a deeper appreciation of the passage. Everyone is invited to bring their requests to God during the time of prayer, after which everyone joins to recite the Lord’s Prayer. The Messengers – a group of singers and musicians with and without developmental disabilities – lead the songs related to the theme of the week or season.
Visiting clergy have developed friendships with people at L’Arche, and frequently the sharing of the Word and reflection become interactive among those attending.
Individual and Small Group Retreats
Retreats are a time for people to deepen their faith, rest and reflect on their relationship with God. There are a number of local, national and international retreats that offer opportunities for personal reflection and to discover L’Arche in a much broader context.
This program is an investment in care of the whole person. After they return from retreat people often share what they have learned or experienced or bring greetings from mutual friends in nearby communities. Retreats connect us to the larger L’Arche family and remind us that we are not alone in our mission.
Three times a month people with developmental disabilities are invited to a Bible Study where their participation is welcomed and encouraged. The lessons are designed to be approachable and meaningful. It is also a time for group support, prayer and worship.
Once a year everyone connected to the L’Arche Greater Vancouver community is invited to a two-day retreat. Our time together is filled with singing, prayer and creative activities based on our Community’s annual theme. When we are together we build our relationships with God and each other.
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