Saturday, 27 January 2018 05:12

Cade Community Lectures to help audiences find hope

Written by  Demi Knight
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In hopes to bring alive the conversation of continuing to find hope within one’s life in times of trouble, Erin Phillips, chaplain with Ecumenical Campus Ministry, set up a series of speakers for the most recent Cade Community Lectures.


Starting on Jan. 15, Phillips herself launched the series to an interested crowd at the Public Library by delving into the book Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl.
“The whole series is on finding hope, looking at the things people are doing that help keep them engaged and not shut down by all the bad news,” said Phillips of the topic of the most recent Cade sessions.
“That’s why I set out the purpose of the series, and in the first session I talked a bit about how the book has been so influential… It was originally published in 1946 and yet seventy years later its still a huge seller which shows just how special the work is.”
The Cade Community Lectures which are sponsored by the Ecumenical Campus Ministry, Office of the President at the University of Lethbridge and the Lethbridge Public Library, are a free of charge lecture series held within the city, that brings speakers together to talk about one broad topic with the audience each week. With this series topic being that of finding hope in times of need, Phillips opened up the first lecture talking about a book that was named one of the most influential pieces of work in 1991 by the Library of Congress and is still to this day sold in book stores across the world.
“It was interesting how it isn’t uncommon for people to resonate with his ideas and people were recommending the book to me, and I thought it was interesting that it was so referred to and so when I was thinking about how to approach the idea of hope this book came to mind,” said Phillips on why she chose to explore Frankl’s work with the audience.
Psychiatrist Victor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning was wrote in 1946 after he and his entire family were sent to different concentration camps in both the Czech Republic and Auschwitz.
The book itself takes time to reflect on Frankl’s journey through these horrifying experiences, how he persevered through them and what he found along the way, all the while developing a theory that is still used today of ‘our fundamental need in life is to find meaning.’
With this in mind, Phillips spent some time during her lecture to talk and reflect on Frankl’s emotions on how one could experience blissful moments, even in the midst of such terrifying horror. Phillips also took a moment to show the audience powerful descriptions Frankl presented throughout the book of his wife and his profound connection to her and his findings that suggest human beings as transcendent and that by giving love to another or to a cause you gain inner happiness as a result.
Phillips also tied together Frankl’s theory with trauma today, as she spoke on his need to try and help other prisoners of the camps keep their eyes on future hopes and maintain a rich inner life and sense of purpose that no one could take from you, whilst reflecting on how these theories can be applied when experiencing your own levels of trauma or struggles in today’s society. With many audience members in attendance saying they too have read the book at some point in their lives, the topic really hit home, especially with Phillips herself.
Being an involved member of the community such as in Coaldale, Phillips who works as a volunteer, community leader and Chaplain said that she too had experienced the theory Frankl discusses in her own life when working on a recent project with refugees.
“When Frankel talks about being a part of something bigger and more profound than you that’s definitely something we’ve experienced in this group.”
Phillips who is co-chair for the University of Lethbridge’s Refugee Community, has been working with Anglican churches, the university itself and a group of doctors since the beginning of 2016 where they worked with members of the government to sponsor refugees in need coming over to Canada and have since worked with a network of families and members of the community in this heartwarming project.
“I consider myself very fortunate because I work with people who are committed to doing meaningful work and I love my job, and I’m so happy. But the refugee project has been a profound experience for me, and I think for many of us have gained that sense of being a part of something really significant and making a difference in someone’s life and it has been incredible,” said Phillips of her work with this program.
The Cade Community Lectures which take place on Mondays at the Public Library will continue on the same theme of finding hope in times of need with the next speaker, Jane Harrowing, a professor in the health sciences faculty at the University of Lethbridge who will speak on Jan. 29.
The third lecture will see the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery Curator, Josephine Mills talk on Feb. 5, before finally a stand-up comedian and editor at the student publication The Meliorist, Mav Adecer closes the sessions with a discussion of ‘Transforming Personal Grief into Public Laughter’ on Feb. 12.

Read 206 times Last modified on Thursday, 25 January 2018 05:14

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