The purpose of L’Arche Greater Vancouver’s Community Life Program is to
- provide opportunities to gather as a community
- build relationships, and
- be attentive to and nurture the spiritual life of individuals in our community.
Support for people with developmental disabilities is often primarily focused on the individual’s housing, financial needs, work opportunities, and social activity. At L’Arche their spiritual needs are also given the opportunity to develop.
L’Arche assists individuals to build mutual, caring relationships and a growing personal spiritual journey. We gather regularly as a community to celebrate, build relationships, share news, and pray together. We also support each other in times of joy and sorrow.
Everyone in the L’Arche community is given the opportunity to contribute their gifts and abilities and be involved in planning and organizing our community life.
The Need for Spirituality
Spirituality and purpose are fundamental to a meaningful life and are key to our mission.
Although L’Arche is rooted in Christianity we welcome people of different faiths or no faith tradition.
Together we believe that each person has a unique value and purpose in life and deserves to be loved and cherished for who they are. Spirituality is something beautiful that we share and celebrate together.
At L’Arche, we look for God’s grace in the small moments of everyday living. His grace appears everywhere – when we walk, talk, care for each other, enjoy music and share a meal together. Even in those moments when we are upset with each other and need to forgive. Together we help each other recognize and deepen the beauty of our shared lives.
L’Arche’s Community Life program offers the following activities to meet the spiritual and social needs of people who are part of our community:
Weekly Community Prayer Gatherings
Each week we gather as a community for a time of prayer and singing. People with and without developmental disabilities participate in the meetings as they are able. A group of singers and musicians chose and lead the songs related to the weekly theme or season. A story or Scripture passage is read aloud or dramatized. A short reflection is shared by visiting clergy or a friend of the community. There is space for individuals to bring prayers to God for personal and global concerns.
Since we have various backgrounds represented in our community, we strive to give people the opportunity to express their spirituality in ways that are meaningful to them.
Individual and Small Group Retreats
Retreats are a time for people to deepen their faith, rest, and reflect on their relationship with God. L’Arche offers local, national, and international retreats that offer time for personal reflection and to discover L’Arche in a broader context.
A retreat allows individuals to step out of their daily rhythm to a peaceful environment giving them time to listen to their hearts, pray, and talk with others.
We also support people to participate in retreats offered by L’Arche Canada and L’Arche International. These events connect us to the larger L’Arche family and remind us that we are not alone in our mission.
Community Retreat Days
Several times a year everyone connected to the L’Arche Greater Vancouver community is invited to a retreat day. Our time together is filled with singing, reflection, prayer, and creative activities based on a seasonal theme.
Anawim- Monthly Community Gathering
Once a month we gather to share news from each house and program, give community-wide announcements, and hear news from other communities, L’Arche Canada, and L’Arche International.
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