70 Join First Providence Village Community Conversation

A room of strangers with like-hearted intention weave fabric of community

When asked how many people knew 90 per cent of those in the room very few hands went up. 50 per cent? Not many more. 10 per cent or less? Most of the hands went up.

Despite being a room filled with people who were mostly strangers to one another there was a spirit of like-heartedness. Stories of connections people had to the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul both recent and of long ago were shared. Stories of being connected to a vision for Providence Village were shared.

We had gathered together to begin forming a new community called Providence Village. The invitation had been an open one, open to the whole Kingston community. One woman there joined us from Ottawa having been connected to the Sisters for a long time, her story woven somewhat with theirs.

There was a spoken belief during the gathering that Providence Village is breaking new ground as a community hub and a way of being in community, a benchmark and a model for others to learn from and from which to take inspiration.

Fifty seats were offered initially and were snatched up in less than 48 hours. Prompted by the show of enthusiasm, another 25 seats were offered in response. Those too were taken up in a matter of two short days. Sold out twice in four days.

Those who came included community members, people who work with the Sisters in one way or another, as well as board and staff members with partners like Hospice Kingston and Providence Care and potential partners like Kingston House of Recovery, YMCA Kingston, and others.

As the day unfolded, participants were invited to connect with the people they knew the least. Offered some deep listening instructions and provocative questions, they then were invited to weave community together.

Each person shared a vision of possibility that had the power to inspire them and transform the community. Some of those visions are captured in the illustration above.

Before the day was through, those gathered offered their commitments, what they wanted to give of their time and talent, if anything, to making the possibilities we’d named come true.

Finally, a harvest circle. Closing the day facing one another and in community, each person spoke of the gift they’d received or what they were taking with them as they returned home. You can see some of their reflections in this video.

This was the first of several Providence Village Community Conversations to come as we cultivate community in new and powerful ways.

There was a spoken belief during the gathering that Providence Village is breaking new ground as a community hub and a way of being in community, a benchmark and a model for others to learn from and from which to take inspiration.

The Sisters’ dream of a community of people caring for people took a step forward into coming true that day.

To view a Flickr photo album from the day, click here.

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