“Journeying with Jesus” is the theme of a gospel jamboree planned for this August 3-6 in Whitehorse’s Christ Church Cathedral. The jamboree, which the diocese hopes to make an annual event, will feature workshops, worship and music, all intended to “refresh, renew and revitalize the body, soul and mind,” says diocesan bishop Larry Robertson.
“We’re hoping to have time to just gather, to have fellowship, to grow together,” he says.
It will take place at a time of year when Yukoners are energized by nearly constant sunlight, Robertson says.
“It might get sort of hazy and dark around—you know, two, three in the morning,” he says. “It’s a time when we come alive, the Yukon comes alive.”
The event is free of charge, although participants will have to pay for their own transportation to and from the event, and for accommodations. It will feature workshops by Canon Ginny Doctor, Indigenous ministries co-ordinator for the Anglican Church of Canada; Shawn Branch, national director of Threshold Ministries, a Saint John, N.B.-based evangelical organization; an as-yet unannounced member of Dancing with the Spirit, an Alaska-based organization that strives to connect elders and youth through music; Betty Davidson, a retired music teacher and long-time northerner; and Robertson himself.
Doctor will speak on Indigenous Healthy Pathways, a healing program for Indigenous people; Branch will speak on evangelism; Davidson and the Dancing with the Spirit member will give musical instruction; and Robertson will talk about his own journey of healing from abuse he suffered as a child, he says.
There will be some scheduled musical performances, but a certain amount of unscheduled, impromptu singing and playing is expected as well, he says. There will be a worship service on Sunday, with Bible readings and songs of praise in the evenings.
Robertson says southerners who are thinking of fitting the jamboree into their summer vacation plans will find plenty to do in the Yukon: there are mountain trails to hike, streams to be fished and a colourful history—the Klondike Gold Rush, for example—to explore. A museum right next door to the cathedral chronicles the deeds of early missionaries in the territory. Visitors, he says, are also sure to find locals very hospitable.
“People are geared up to greet you, to meet you, and we can wine and dine you if you want!” he says with a laugh.
Those interested in this summer’s gospel jamboree, Robertson says, are encouraged to check the diocese’s website and Facebook page for updates, or to contact the synod office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tali Folkins has worked as a staff reporter for the Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal. His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The United Church Observer.
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