On May 12th, Illene Pevec, Joan Fromme, Humphrey Williams and Benedict Herrman toured Eastern Canada. We started in Montreal, had latihan and meetings with the men and women helpers and latihan and testing with the members. We were graciously hosted by Subud members, for which we were very appreciative!
The Montreal group has members from Spanish, French and English backgrounds, which makes for a very rich and diverse culture. The committee is composed of young Colombian women who have grown up in Quebec. One is a former participant in the Human Force Camp in Puebla prior to the 2014 World Congress who is now a lawyer working in immigrant rights and law. The testing about the cultures of Subud Montreal concluded with a profound experience of what Subud Montreal brings inwardly to the greater Montreal multi-culturalism. The women tested the cultures of the various groups as well as the culture of the First Nations people, and what they contribute to spirituality. They also tested how their latihan has progressed individually, and its benefits both for them and their families. The emerging theme from these sessions was the importance of more connectedness between the members.
On the following Tuesday, we drove to Montreal, had latihan and testing with the members and helpers (there is only one women’s helper in Toronto). The Regional Helpers for the Eastern Region were also able to join us for latihan and testing. One of the concerns raised in Toronto was the lack of growth in membership.
On the 21st, we drove from Toronto to Camp Kawartha, the Eastern Regional gathering, which hosted members from Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, and various parts of Eastern Canada for the annual family-oriented gathering. The Kawartha regional gathering has occurred at the same environmental education camp by a lake and many Subud children have grown into Subud members attending the last 25 years. We had the joy and energy of children from ages 4 to 17 in attendance. Some sold soup mix as a fund-raiser for youth to attend the World Congress.
As end of terms are approaching for many positions, we tested the role of the local, regional, national and international helpers to give members an opportunity to feel for themselves the nature of the roles, and to get an idea of whether they may wish to put their name forward for one of these roles. We also tested with members about attending World Congress.
Together with all the helpers from the various groups, we had a full, frank discussion regarding the withdrawal of a helper card from a member who had been convicted of a serious offense which caused safety concerns for some members.
The Ottawa group, which now has few members due to members relocating, shared their process concerning the possible disposition of their Subud house, which is restricted as to zoning requirements and as well will require significant renovation if it is to be of continued use. As a result of this discussion, an exciting possibility of forming a Canada-wide group to focus on Subud Centerprise or Subud driven development and/or social/community engagement has begun. The Eastern Canada members will start this process, and begin by inviting interested Subud members to participate.
In the evening, the members requested an opportunity for a Q & A about Kalimantan, in which Illene participated.
Many members expressed their appreciation and gratitude for the gathering.