CASC/ACSS Conference 2017

Saskatoon   Apr 26, 2017 – Apr 29, 2017









Come to Saskatoon April 26 to 29, 2017 and join us in “Critical Conversations: Bridges to the Future”.

Click here to Down load Conference Brochure and Poster


Hotel:  The Delta Bessborough

CASC/ACSS Conference 2017
Hotel and Accomodation

Room Sharing Option:

If you are interested in sharing accommodations, please email with your name, phone number, email address and the dates you are looking to share a room. A list of names and contact information will be set up and sent out to people requesting shared accommodations. We will do the best we can to connect you with someone to share a room, but we cannot guarantee that a suitable room sharing opportunity will be available.
Our Conference Hotel is the historic Bessborough in downtown Saskatoon.

Key Note Speakers:

Keynote Address – President’s Reception
Neal Kewistep

Neal is a proud member of the Fishing Lake First Nation and a residential school Survivor. Neal speaks to how his life has been impacted by the inter-generational effects of the residential school system and how he and his family have been able to recover from their experiences in the schools. He works with the Saskatoon Health Region as a manager for Building Health Equity, Population & Public Health.   Neal and his team work to improve the health conditions for First Nations and Metis populations within the core-neighbourhoods of Saskatoon. Neal has an undergraduate degree in Indigenous Studies and a Master’s degree in Public Administration. 

John D. Shepherd MD FRCPC

Past Director, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplantation Program of BC

Emeritus Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of BC

Brief Biography:

Dr. Shepherd completed undergraduate studies at UBC and then went on to obtain a Masters degree in Medical Sciences at the University of Calgary. Following this, he completed medical school at the University of Calgary in 1981 and did his medical residency at the University of Toronto.

He returned to Vancouver in 1984 and completed his fellowship in Hematology at UBC followed by a term as a Leukemia/BMT fellow with the Leukemia/BMT Program of BC, a joint program of the BCCA, Vancouver General Hospital, and the University of BC.

He has been on staff with the Program since 1987 and has focused his clinical research efforts at various times on the therapy of elderly patients with acute myeloid leukemia, advances in multiple myeloma, and novel therapy of chronic myeloid leukemia.

From 2001-2007 he served in administration positions with the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. Currently Dr. Shepherd is an Emeritus Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. His lifetime of work has brought him into many conversations with the acutely and terminally ill and from this work he brings unique perspectives on the topic of assisted dying.

Key Note Speaker: Lorraine M. Wright, RN, PhD.

Dr. Wright is Professor Emeritus of Nursing, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada. She is also an author/blogger, international speaker, and consultant in family nursing and family therapy. Dr Wright was the Director, Family Nursing Unit, University of Calgary for 20 years, a unique clinical and research unit for couples/families suffering with serious illness.

Dr. Wright is the author of 10 books and numerous chapters and articles including Beliefs and Illness: A Model for Healing (2009); and Suffering, Spirituality, and Illness: Ideas for Healing (2005).

Dr Wright solo wrote/produced the DVDs “Spirituality, Suffering, and Illness: Conversations for Healing”; and “Therapeutic Conversations with Families: What’s Love Got to Do With it?” She has also co-produced 8 educational Family Nursing DVD’s.

Dr. Wright will present both a pre-conference workshop and a keynote address related to her work at addressing the experience of suffering in her patients.

Rituals and Liturgies from the 2017 CASC national Conference in Saskatoon

Designed by Lynette Janzen and Julie Bergen. 


Thursday (bowls – fescue seeds)

Welcome from conference organizers and announcements – Audrey and Tom

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Let us gather in this space and join in a time of reflection and ritual as I invite you to consider our relationship with the prairie ecosystem with which we are surrounded.  I hope that these reflections will guide us as we consider the micro-reconciliations, the small opportunities for change and growth, that we can claim in our own lives.

I invite you to greet those around your table, and those within your reach as we begin our day together.  (Change slide)

O Spirit of God, we ask you to help orient
all our actions by your inspirations,
carry them on by your gracious assistance,
that every prayer and work of ours
may always begin from you
and through you be happily ended

-Jesuit Prayer

(Change slide – follow verses – 5)

Song of gathering: I am a child of God – Bruce and Cheryl Harding

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Responsive reading

One:  Let us give thanks to our Creator, for the Creator is always with us.

All:  God is with us in the sweep of the wind and in the movement of the grasses beneath our feet.

One:  Our Creator is with us in the changing of the seasons.

All:  God is with us when we gather together and when we are alone.

One:  Our Creator is with us in our giftedness and in our search for new understandings of ourselves, new visions of our communities.

(fescue slide)

The seeds that you see in the small bowl on your table are from the grass called Plains Rough Fescue.  It is a mid-sized perennial grass that spread across this land, chasing melting glaciers north over 8 thousand years ago.  People followed it too, living with the bison, elk and deer that fattened themselves on this and many other grasses.

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Plains Rough Fescue used to grow throughout Saskatchewan from the cool slopes of the Cypress Hills in the South West to the pocket grasslands of the aspen forest in the Pasque Hills in the North East.  First People’s trails crisscrossed this land long before the transcanada, highway 11 or the Diefenbaker International Airport brought any of us here.

Nutritious, even during the dead of winter,  Plains Rough Fescue worked together with other living things to strengthen the land, provide for its inhabitants, and make the place beautiful.

Like all grasses native to SK, Plains Rough Fescue cannot tolerate tillage.  The cultivation that turned the soil and allowed the growth of our province’s famous crops of wheat destroyed Plains Rough Fescue, relegating it to the margins, to extreme rocky soils, to the slopes too steep to till.

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Prairie restoration is the art and science of returning the plants, animals, processes and glory of those marginalized plants and ecosystems back to the land.  Prairie restoration requires understanding what plants were there before, what plants are there now.  Restoration needs to acknowledge the changes that have taken place, to come up with steps to take, to do the work, evaluate the progress and learn from the mistakes.  It requires partners, experts, people who love the dirt and the plants and the bugs.  Of course, we can never achieve full restoration of the prairie.  We are never going back to the days of uninterrupted miles of bison herds grazing.  The prairies started forming 10,000 years ago and no one person, no one plan, no one seed will restore it.  We can only set the conditions for restoration.

This seed.  This seed is the potential of a grassland.  It contains within it the blueprint for a grassland and the ability to work together with all the plants and animals to hold the land together.  This seed begins to germinate and grow the minute we plant it.  These little pots of future Plains Rough Fescue grasses that we are planting here today do not constitute restoration, but are one of the many small steps that go into turning a patch of soil back into prairie.

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Just as planting one seed can be a step towards prairie restoration, we each have small changes that can be made in our own lives, conversations to be initiated, relationships to be nurtured, learning to be obtained.  By claiming these micro-reconciliations, we can be part of the restoration and reconciliation needed in our lives and our world. 

(change slide) (Credit – Matthew Braun)

Let us take time to reflect on the micro-reconciliations we can make in our own lives, the small commitments that we feel called to consider and undertake.  As we begin this time of reflection, please pass the seeds from one person to the next, holding the bowl in support for your neighbour as a seed is selected.  When you feel ready, please plant your seed in the soil provided.  After this time of reflection, we will join in song.

(Music during reflection and planting)

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Song:  I will come to you in the silence – David Haas

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(Music during reading from Trevor Herriot’s Towards a Prairie Atonement)

“We all need to protect and experience our remaining wild lands, today more than ever, but parks and reserves represent a small portion of our planet. Most of us live in landscapes that have been greatly altered by human agency-agricultural, industrial, or urban. Nature struggles to survive at the edges of a corn field or in a creek running through the city but it is still there and just as worthy of our attention and defence.

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Good things happen when we go to such places. It is not hard to find a piece of land degraded but not yet annihilated by human activity. Walk through a place isolated or damaged by the extractive impulses of our species, and, if you are quiet enough, attentive enough, you will be able to read its narrative of loss. The gift of any place, in soil and leaf and limb, remains remote until you expose your soft human belly to its brokenness. You may worry that, if you let down your guard and acknowledge what is missing, the sadness will overtake you. And it may for a spell, but if you stay, your thoughts will soon enough turn to the survivors.

A kind of intimacy settles in dissolving the sorrow in gratitude for what remains and hope for what could yet be restored, reconciled. Canada’s prairie landscapes – still rowdy with the old life, still sanctuaries of wildness, but clearly in decline and need of more compassion and attention-give themselves readily to such a practice.”

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Song: Oh Healing River – 3 verses

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Responsive reading:

For all the blessings of this life,
we give thanks to You, Creator God.
For families, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and strangers,

who nurture us, that the love of God may grow within.

That Your love, your Word, like a seed,

may grow to produce in us, good fruit.
May your love be like a seed, taking root and growing strong.

(change slide)

For the leaders of various nations and cities,

that they may lead with strong hearts and gentle hands and generous spirits,

with compassion and mercy, with wisdom and grace.
May they reflect your will guiding all their actions and decisions.
May your love be like a seed, taking root and growing strong.

(change slide)

For those who serve in harms way,
those who live in dangerous places,
those who live in areas of war and strife,
those who live in fear,

those who worry about employment, bills, food,

and struggle just to find dignity in life.
May your grace bring peace and safety to all people, one to another.
May your love be like a seed, taking root and growing strong.

(change slide)

For those who suffer from any illness or dis-ease—

of mind, body, or spirit.
Restore these, and all those we carry in our hearts, to fullness of health—
health as only you, O God, can bring.
May your mercy shower each of us with healing mercy and love.
May your love be like a seed, taking root and growing strong.

(change slide)

For those who are dying, and for those who have died.

Send forth your comforting love.
Give solace to those who mourn.
Console those who grieve.
May your grace surround us

like a mantle upon our heads,
a shawl upon our shoulders,
a hand, to hold our hand.
May your love, be like a seed, taking root and growing strong.


— written by Terri and posted on RevGalBlogPals.  HYPERLINK “”

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Song: Dona Nobis Pacem – Traditional

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Closing prayer – Enduring God, you gather with us in this space, swirling round us like the winds that blow across the prairie.  At times buffeting us with the need for change and renewal, and then brushing past us with the sustaining hope and pleasure of life.  Bring peace to this land and this life, and guide us in our commitments to our community and ourselves.  Amen.

(change slide)




Welcome and announcements – Tom and Audrey

(change slide)


As we prepare to share in a time of sacred sound healing, let us greet those around us.

(change slides)

The first peace, which is the most important,
is that which comes within the souls of people 
when they realize their relationship,
 their oneness with the universe and all its powers, 
and when they realize that at the center of the universe
dwells the Great Spirit, 
and that this center is really everywhere, 
it is within each of us.

 – Black Elk (from Black Elk Speaks)

(change slide – 1 verse and chorus)

Song:  I will come to you in the silence

(Change slide)

Introduction and invitation to Sacred Sound Healing

I’d like to introduce Katherine Dempsey, an Intuitive Sound Healer, Level 4 Qigong Practitioner, Reiki Master and Registered Nurse. Her personal healing journey of Breast Cancer, Anxiety and Depression has brought awareness of how powerful alternative healing can be. It has taught her the sensitivity and healing connection which lies within each of us. Today she will be playing the Crystal Singing Bowls with vocal tuning.

Healing sound penetrates our bodies deeply and very quickly there is a shift. It is soothing and relaxing.  The heart rate slows, the blood pressure decreases and brain waves change from the alert beta state to the meditative alpha state. Healing endorphins release to relieve discomfort. Melatonin levels increase, assisting with sleep. Nitric acid in the body is elevated which in turn helps to work on opening the vascular system. Congested areas of the body are better nourished. Healing Sound is gentle yet powerful, connecting you within in mind, body, spirit.

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Kathy Dempsey – Sacred Sound Healing

Closing prayer

As we allow this healing sound to echo in our bodies, minds, and hearts, may our day reverberate with healing and love. In gratitude to God for this gift. Amen.

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Memorial (bowls – tea lights and match books)

Gathering prayer

As we join in this service of memorial, may the light of God surround you, the love of God enfold you, the presence of God watch you. We come into this sacred space this morning to remember our losses, to grieve, to find comfort and to walk on the path toward healing.  We gather to remember individuals from our profession who have passed away over the last year.  For some of us, the loss of these friends and colleagues still holds raw sadness, and our desire is to gather round you to remember and comfort.  For those of us to whom these individuals were unknown, we grieve the loss of wisdom in the spiritual care community, and open our hearts to share the pain of loss.  You may also wish to bring to mind a loss that has affected you deeply – death of a loved one, relationship, a job, a dream, loss of health – a loss that needs healing.  May this space provide safety and comfort, may we be held in the love of the transcendent.

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Responsive reading:

Teach me to listen, O God, to those nearest me, my family, my friends, my co-workers.

Hear us into being.  Be our healing presence.

(change slide)

Help me to be aware that no matter what words I hear, the message is, “Accept the person I am. Listen to me.”

Hear us into being.  Be our healing presence.

(change slide)

Teach me to listen, my caring God, to those far from me– the whisper of the hopeless, the plea of the forgotten, the cry of the anguished.

Hear us into being.  Be our healing presence.

(change slide)

Teach me to listen, O God my Mother, to myself. Help me to be less afraid to trust the voice inside — in the deepest part of me.

Hear us into being.  Be our healing presence.

(change slide)

Teach me to listen, Spirit, for your voice — in busyness and in boredom, in certainty and doubt, in noise and in silence.

Hear us into being.  Be our healing presence.

(change slide)

Teach me to listen.  Amen.

John Veltri,

(change slide – 4 verses with chorus)

Song: I will come to you in the silence.

(change slide)

Blessing – As we approach the reading of memorials, we will light the candles as a way to invite ourselves into the depth of community and to call into our midst the Spirit that sustains us in our losses and our hope.  On your table you will find matches and I ask that each group choose one person to be the candle lighter.  The reading includes parts for the candle lighter and the people.  We will light the candles together at the end of the reading.  Please join us as we read:

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Leader:  Come, let us remember those from the spiritual care community who have gone before us.

Candle lighter:  Let this light honour the memories of those whom we grieve.

(change slide)

all: We remember the communities where those who died did their living, and were cared for in their dying; the communities where our loss occurred; and the community we create today in our being together. We need one another in our grief, in our loss and in our starting again. We each need a place to be really heard.

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Candle lighter: Let this light guide us as we grope for meaning in the emptiness.

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all: Our sorrow and joy are woven together. We cannot deny the grief that death or loss brings. We must let it spill from our hearts. We must let our sorrow have its time, because our joy has had its time. It is because we knew, loved and delighted in our relationships we remember today that we feel such sorrow in their endings.

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Candle lighter: Let this light inspire us as we continue the work of our colleagues.

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all: We are thankful for the gift of life, even though life does not come without death and endings. We are thankful for the persons whose lives touched and changed our lives. We are thankful that memories can help heal grief and bring us into deeper understandings of our self, the world and our relationship with God.

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Lighting of Candles

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Leader:  Spirit of light, surround us with warm compassion, the glow of comfort, and the blessing of memories. Amen.

We will read the names of those who passed away during the previous year.  I ask that you stand as you are able when a name is read of someone whom you knew.  After the memorial is read, there will be opportunity for sharing.  I ask that you use one of the available microphones to ensure you can be heard. 

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Reverend Roy Huntly –  1930 – August 20, 2016

Rev. Huntly passed away peacefully, predeceased by his beloved wife Muriel.  He is survived by children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.   Roy grew up in England and then spent three years in Jamaica serving in the Congregationalist church in Kingston.  His family immigrated to Canada in 1967 where Roy was a minister in the United Church of Canada, serving congregations, Conference offices and chaplaincies in Quebec and Ontario. At the end of his career, Roy’s passion for the pastoral care needs of seniors brought him to Kingston where he worked at Queen’s in the area of gerontology.  His friends and family will remember his wit, his artistic eye, his generous commitment to social justice and the grace and dignity with which he faced his final years.

Time of Sharing


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 (Dr. Tracy Vom Hagen- August 13, 1979 – September 13, 2016)

            The recent passing of Tracy Vom Hagen (née Demmons) deeply saddened the Acadia Divinity College family.  Tracy lived with the effects of Neurofibromatosis type 2, a disorder characterized by the growth of noncancerous tumors throughout the nervous system.  Surgery to remove tumors on her brain stem affected Tracy’s hearing, ending her ability to answer her calling as a chaplain. She turned towards an academic approach to chaplaincy, studying at the venerable University of St. Andrews, Scotland, where she completed a dissertation on the knowledge of God and people with intellectual disabilities.  As she neared the end of her doctoral program, Tracy accepted an internship with the United Nations Critical Incident and Stress Management Unit in New York conducting training for UN support staff in psychosocial support.  She then spent 18 months in Afghanistan as a staff counsellor providing psychological and spiritual support to UN staff working under extreme duress.

With her vibrant personality and tenacity in teaching and counselling despite her physical limitations, Tracy inspired and touched the lives of students in profound ways.  Tracy believed that God works wonders with whatever you give Him. This was certainly demonstrated in her own life.

Time of sharing


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 ( Norman Headley- 1945 – February 20, 2017)

Norm, beloved husband of Kathleen for 48 years, was a loving father and proud grandfather.  Norman was the Director of Chaplaincy for Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto and prior to that the Director of Chaplaincy at University Hospital in London, ON.

Norm passed away peacefully with his family by his side at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital.

Time of Sharing


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Rabbi Dr. Nachum (Norman) Berlat

Rabbi Berlat served as Director of Spiritual Care at Baycrest Jewish Family and Child Services, Toronto for almost 30 years, before retiring in 2012. He continued to serve as Scholar-In-Residence and taught classes to patients, residents, clients and their families as part of the Jewish cultural and educational offerings.  Rabbi Berlat worked extensively with holocaust survivors, responding to the spiritual needs of those who grappled with the life long effects of their horrific war-time experiences.  Rabbi Berlat was also an Associate Teaching Supervisor of Clinical Pastoral Education and provided instruction to Chaplain Interns and Spiritual Care volunteer visitors as part of their training and development. He was a member of the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine and Professor of Pastoral Counseling at the Jewish University of America. He was ordained at Yeshiva University (Orthodox) in his home town of New York, NY and held a Doctor of Pastoral Care.

Time of Sharing


Cullene Bryant

Cullene Bryant passed away on April 23rd in Vancouver, BC having been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in mid-February.  Cullene was the first woman to be certified as a CPE Supervisor within the Canadian Association of Spiritual Care.  A minister of the United Church of Canada, she worked most of her life as a spiritual care teaching supervisor at hospitals in Toronto, Edmonton, New York, and the Philippines.  Cullene had passion for both writing and theology and studied at the centre for Spirituality and Justice in New York, received a Doctor of Ministry from Princeton, and graduated from the Simon Fraser University Writers Studio.  She spent many years in Alberts, including at the University of Alberta Hospital where she was appreciated fro her deep goodness, wit, and wisdom.

Time of Sharing

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Is there anyone else from the spiritual care community who has passed away in the previous year?  I invite you to name them now. 

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Song:  Dona Nobis Pacem

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Responsive reading:

We are like beautiful pottery that breaks,

The grass that withers,

The flower that fades,

The shadow that passes,

The cloud that vanishes,

The breeze that blows,

The dust that floats,

The dream that flies away.

Ancient Talmudic poem

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Prayer of sending

O Great Spirit whose voice I hear in the winds and whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me. I am small and weak – I need your strength and wisdom. Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset. Make my hands respect the things you have made and my ears sharp to hear your voice. Make me wise so that I may understand the things you have taught my people. Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock. I seek strength not to be greater than another, but to fight my greatest enemy, myself. Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes so when life fades as the fading sunset my spirit may come to you without shame. Amen.

american indian – lakota – chief yellow lark – 1887

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Fun Run/Walk/Roll 2017 Honouree

Rev. Dr. Wilburn Nelson

Wilburn (Bill) Nelson is the Canadian Foundation for Spiritual Care Fun Run/Walk/Roll Honouree for the 2017 Annual Convention. Bill was born and raised in Minnesota and flirted with a theological education while pursuing a career as a journalist. Eventually theology, and more particularly pastoral theology, won out. Bill completed a divinity degree, STM and eventually a Ph. D. in communication. Upon completion of his Ph. D. he was offered a position with the Lutheran World Federation in Geneva, Switzerland. It is fortunate for Saskatoon that Bill was wooed north to the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon where he served as Professor of Pastoral Theology for over three decades. Bill’s contribution to Supervised Pastoral Education began in 1984 when he initiated the province’s first and only centre for Pastoral Counselling Education at the seminary. During a sabbatical the previous year, Bill studied pastoral counselling at the University of Winnipeg under the tutelage of the Rev. Dr. Harold King. This intensive year of preparation in pastoral counselling followed upon earlier SPE experiences including CPE units at St. Elizabeth’s Mental Health Institution in Washington D.C., and the Institute of Religion at the Texas Medical Centre in Houston. He states that while instructors and textbooks enhanced his learning, his real education came from reading “living human documents.” Bill built strategic alliances with the Saskatoon Correctional Centre and the Saskatoon Family Service Bureau to ensure that his students had meaningful placements in their PCE process. He persuaded the faculty of the seminary to create the Master of Pastoral Counselling degree which celebrated a number of graduates over the course of a decade. Bill’s retirement created a significant loss for Supervised Pastoral Education since reduced budgets and new priorities resulted in the end of the PCE program in Saskatoon. Numerous students are indebted to Bill for their acumen in care and counselling. In addition to PCE he was a Supervisor with AAMFT, supervising approximately 28 therapists in the province including pastors, social workers, psychologists and family physicians. Bill and his wife Barb have enjoyed retirement with Bill finding satisfaction in creating art and poetry. Bill continues to provide spiritual direction for a number of individuals and, as an ongoing AAMFT Fellow, he continues to maintain a small counselling practice. He is one of two Canadians on the Board of the Journal for Spirituality and Mental Health. When asked for a piece of wisdom for would be counsellors and care-givers he offered the following: “Sit gently as a person of grace with those who seek out your care.” Thanks Bill for all your many contribution to SPE in Saskatchewan.



CASC/ACSS Conference 2017

Key Notes and Conference workshops
Wednesday April 26, 2017 7:00 p.m.- President’s Reception, Opening Address

            “Animating the Spirit of Reconciliation”- Neal Kewistep

Neal will highlight some of the 94 Calls to Action which grew out of the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on residential schools. Practical suggestions will be offered to those looking for a place to start the reconciliation work. Encouragement will be given to those already actively working with the population of survivors and their children. Personal stories will be shared of how survivors and their families have been impacted and what can be done to support these families as they reconcile their experiences. Neal’s work in public health is an asset to thinking about the intersection between the TRC recommendations and those we meet in healthcare, corrections and counselling. 



Neal Kewistep is a proud member of the Fishing Lake First Nation and a residential school Survivor. Neal speaks to how his life has been impacted by the inter-generational effects of the residential school system and how he and his family have been able to recover from their experiences in the schools. He works with the Saskatoon Health Region as a manager for Building Health Equity, Population & Public Health.  Neal and his team work to improve the health conditions for First Nations and Metis populations within the core-neighbourhoods of Saskatoon. Neal has an undergraduate degree in Indigenous Studies and a Master’s degree in Public Administration. 


Thursday April 27, 2017 9:00 a.m. – Theme Address


“Suffering, Spirituality and Illness: Clinical Ideas for Healing Conversations”- Lorraine Wright

Health care has become influenced by societal beliefs that over-values happiness and is unable to acknowledge and witness suffering. This has led our language with patients and families to change from inquiring and empathizing about suffering to adopting more upbeat language like ‘coping’, ‘adapting’, and ‘adjusting’.   Even harsher expectations of dealing with illness suffering such as “it is what it is”; and “you need to accept your illness” have crept into our conversations when caring for patients/families. This change in professional language does not reflect our patients/families experience with illness suffering and particularly their spiritual suffering.   This presentation will encourage us to reflect and consider (re)embracing conversations of illness and suffering with our patients/families that will open space to spiritual, emotional, and physical healing. From research and clinical practice, it has been determined that when suffering is softened, then spiritual healing can most often occur.


Lorraine Wright is Professor Emeritus of Nursing, University of Calgary and formerly the Director, Family Nursing Unit, University of Calgary, a unique clinical and research unit for couples/families suffering with serious illness. She is the author of 10 books including Beliefs and Illness: A Model for Healing (2009); and Suffering, Spirituality, and Illness: Ideas for Healing (2005).   
 Friday April 28, 2017, 9:00 a.m. – Theme Address


“Medical Assistance in Dying—a Clinician’s perspective” – John Shepherd

The introduction of legislation which allows medical assistance in dying (MAiD) has changed the landscape for Canadian healthcare practitioners, patients and their families. Concerns across the spectrum from “it does not go far enough” to “it goes too far” continue to be expressed by many individuals; the purpose of this talk is not to debate these issues, but to provide clinical perspectives which might help spiritual care providers address these situations and the sometimes family dividing emotions they may bring to the surface. As a hematologic oncologist John has experienced the full range of emotions which incipient or predicted death brings. Requests for MAiD have been present for years and health systems have tried to skirt around the issue in a variety of ways … at the other end of the spectrum, there are those patients and families for whom every second of life is a desired goal, no matter the amount of discomfort. In addition, it is important that care-givers of all kinds attend to their own emotions around this complex subject.


John Shepherd  is the Past Director, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplantation Program of BC & Emeritus Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of BC. He has been on staff with the Leukemia/BMT Program since 1987 and has focused his clinical research efforts at various times on the therapy of elderly patients with acute myeloid leukemia, advances in multiple myeloma, and novel therapy of chronic myeloid leukemia. He has authored or co-authored over 300 publications. 




Thursday April 27, 2017 10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.


A1. Opening the Circle: Advocating for and Supporting Greater Indigenous Participation in Spiritual Health/Care

The Truth & Reconciliation Commission recommendations include increasing participation of Indigenous healthcare professionals. In Spiritual Health/Care, we often fall short of participation proportionate to the Indigenous population (4%). Indigenous Canadians bring particular gifts that will enrich our profession. Drawing upon the presenter’s experience of internship, eight years working in Spiritual Health/Care, and literature describing clinical education with minority groups, participants will hear the lived experience of “other” in our training and profession, and consider ways to advocate /support Indigenous participation in CASC. Lauren Aldred is the Manager of Spiritual Health in the Northern Health Authority in Prince George, British Columbia.

A2. “A Patient “Spiritual Self-Assessment Tool” Study—Development, Results”

 A novel spiritual self-assessment tool given to hospital in-patients as part of their admission package is being tested two ways (patient questionnaire and care-provider questionnaire, administered both to the site using the tool and to a control site practicing “standard care” to determine if therapeutic alliance between patient and inter-professional care team is improved. Study process and results-to-date will be shared. Bob Bond is the Coordinator for Spiritual Care for the Niagara Health Region, Ontario and Adjunct Faculty to McMaster University.


A3. “Challenge & Opportunity: contemporary Issues in Corrections Chaplaincy”

Contemporary corrections chaplaincy faces a myriad of challenges within a largely retributive justice system. Challenges that include meeting the psycho-spiritual needs of a population starved of spiritual nurture in a resource-constrained environment in the face of a trend towards privatization of services. These factors define our work context, but there is diversity in how we experience them and in our responses, a rich diversity that needs to be shared across a national audience. Panelists include: Anna Braun, Dan Brister, Chantel Cyprus, Herman Friesen, Gary Haney, Paul Vanderham all of whom work as chaplains within a variety of Alberta Corrections facilities.


A4. “Being Present to Others’ Stories: Building Narrative Awareness”  

Literary narratives imitate many of the structures each of us live through in daily life. The theory of literary narratives can thus help build understanding of life-structures, revealing how individuals might or might not respond to stress, illness, accident, and/or the death of a loved one. This interactive workshop will allow participants to engage their own life’s story, learning what narrative structures might be operative in their own lives so the concepts discussed can be translated into caregiving settings. Simon Lasair holds a Ph. D. in Hebrew Bible Literature and is the Senior Spiritual Care Practitioner in the Saskatoon Health Region.


A5. “Clinical Preceptors in SPE”

This workshop discusses the purposeful preparation of Spiritual Care Preceptors as clinical collaborators with CASC/ACSS Teaching Supervisors in the delivery of CPE programs. The presence of on-site Preceptors allows for the placement of CPE students in diverse clinical locations. As part of the redevelopment of CPE in Alberta, the “Sacred Art of Preceptorship” course has been established at St. Stephen’s College to provide theoretical underpinnings for the Preceptor role and accompanies Preceptors through their first clinical experiences with CPE students. Margaret Clark is the Coordinator, SPE, St. Stephen’s College; Phillip Behman is a Teaching Supervisor at the Alberta Children’s Hospital; Blaine Allan and Kathy Spate are Chaplains and Provisional Supervisors in Alberta Hospitals.


A6. “Traumatic Growth”

This workshop introduces two clinical tools—the SEMP-R Circle Diagram and the Trauma Narrative Timeline—that can be used when engaging in critical conversations with patients and clients about their trauma. The tools invite patients/clients to reflect on their holistic experience of the trauma and explore their resources to move towards posttraumatic growth. Workshop participants will have an opportunity to practice using the tools themselves and reflect on this experience in pairs. Alida van Dijk holds a Ph. Spiritual Care and Psychotherapy and works for St. Joseph Health Care in London, ON.


A7. “Supervisors-Educators: The Next Generation”

       (NB: This Workshop is Repeated on Friday)

The Education Standards Commission has approved a new process for becoming a CASC Supervisor/Educator, effective as of April 1, 2017. This workshop will outline the new process for becoming a supervisor-educator focusing specifically on the changes for supervising provisional supervisors. Participants will be introduced to a learning module that all CASC supervisors will complete prior to supervising provisional supervisor-educators. Feedback from participants will assist in refining or expanding the module. The session is applicable to current teaching, associate and provisional supervisors, those interested in becoming a supervisor, and members who want to keep abreast of the changes in CASC. Angela Schmidt is a Teaching Supervisor at the Royal Victoria General Health Centre in Barrie, Ontario and the Chair of the Accreditation Committee for the Educational Standards Comission.


Thursday April 27, 2017 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

B1. “Critical Care Nurses’ Experiences with Spiritual Care in Intensive Care: The SPIRIT STUDY”

The SPIRIT study is building bridges in the context of critical care by engaging in conversations about the impact of spiritual care on ICU nurses after making referrals to

the Spiritual Care Department. Through these conversations, SPIRIT is exploring how ICU nurses and spiritual care clinicians work together as well as how ICU nurses themselves engage in providing spiritual care in their practice. The findings from SPIRIT will inform stronger collaborations and enhance inter-professional care. Nigel Bone is a Fellow in Spiritual Care at St. Joseph’s Health Care in Hamilton, Ontario.


SORRY  WORKSHOP FILLED:  B2. “Bending with the Breeze”: Providing Spiritual Care and Music Therapy to People Diagnosed with Dementia”

“Bending in the Breeze” is a balance between the theoretical and the practical. Spiritual Care and Music Therapy are blended to bring you practical interventions for those with dementia. Learn more about two individuals from two disciplines who collaborate to enhance the well-being of those living with the life-limiting illness of dementia.   Jan Temple-Jones is a Spiritual Care Practitioner and Amanda Schenstead is a Music Therapist working with long-term care clients in a variety of settings within the Regina-Qu’appelle Health Region.


B3. “Draw the Circle Wide: Extending Hospitality to LGBTQ+ People in the Therapeutic Relationship”

Historically, LGBTQ+ people have had a complicated—and sometimes traumatic—relationship with the mental health establishment and religious and health care

institutions. Contemporary clinicians—including spiritual care providers and psycho-spiritual therapists—may wish to create a safe, supportive space for LGBTQ+ clients, their families, and significant others, but may still be developing the language, knowledge, and skill set to effectively work with this population. Through the words and stories of LGBTQ+ people; a review of relevant literature; and an interactive case study, this workshop will explore LGBTQ+ people’s experiences of clinicians; issues of power and privilege with relation to us as clinicians; and approaches that can be helpful in establishing trust and creating a therapeutic alliance. Erin Poole is a Spiritual Care Practitioner within long-term care and operates a private counselling practice.


B4. “The Stories We Live By: Integrating Dignity Therapy into Clinical Practice”

This workshop will provide an overview of the philosophy/theology of Dignity Therapy, and explore ways in which Spiritual Care Providers can enhance their use of narrative therapy within their own clinical practice. Discussion will draw from the work of Arthur Frank’s “Illness Narratives” as well as Erik Erikson’s concept of “Generativity”.   Other methods of ‘Dignity-Conserving Care’ will also be explored. Lindsay Drabiuk is a Spiritual Health Specialist with CancerCare, Manitoba.

B5. “Competencies for Teaching Supervisors”

The recently adopted scope of practice is incomplete because the work of Supervisor-Educators is not addressed. This was not an oversight. The foundation of our scope of practice, the development of the competencies, has not yet been done for Supervisor-Educators. It’s time to address this and, being Chaplains, we want to do this in an inclusive and relational fashion. The Professional Practice Commission invites all members, particularly Supervisor-Educators, to join in this conversation. The facilitators


for this conversation are: Becky Vink, Co-Chair of the Competency Committee; Dan Brister, Competency Committee Secretary and Patricia O’Halloran member of the Competency Committee.


B6. “Medical Assistance in Dying: Journey of the Soul” – Zinia Pritchard and Rilla Summerville

Canada has now legalized voluntary euthanasia and assisted death. This workshop gives health care providers an opportunity to engage the critical questions that arise in the midst of this legislation. This workshop cultivates an environment for participants to engage in theological reflection and informed critical exploration through an overview of MAID. The presenters, two spiritual care leaders in healthcare, reflect on the demand for professional guidelines, education, and resources, as well as sharing their critical reflection upon their personal thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. Rilla Sommerville is Past-President of the Alberta Association for Spiritual Care and a Alberta Health Services Spiritual Health Practitioner; Zinia Pritchard is the Alberta Health Services Provincial Senior Practice Lead in Spiritual Care and a Senior Practice Consultant.

Friday April 28, 2017 10:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

C1. “Reconciliation at the Bedside: The Experience of Spiritual/Cultural Workers”

Seeking to meet the needs of traditional First Nation, Inuit and Metis people in the Saskatoon Health Region (SHR), Spiritual/Cultural Workers provide patient support alongside inter-faith Spiritual Care Practitioners. Responding to the needs of each patient, staff can provide conversation in English or Cree, as well as prayer, smudging, and assistance in arranging for traditional ceremonies. This workshop provides an opportunity for the SHR Spiritual and Cultural Care staff to describe their work within the health care system and to discuss the support that is needed by First Nation and Metis patients from isolated communities. Ron Thompson, Cathy Gladue and Sharon Ahenakew work as Spiritual/Cultural Workers throughout the Saskatoon Health Region.


C2. “Supervisors-Educators: The Next Generation” (NB: This workshop is a repeat of Thursday)

The Education Standards Commission has approved a new process for becoming a CASC Supervisor/Educator, effective as of April 1, 2017. This workshop will outline the new process for becoming a supervisor-educator focusing specifically on the changes for supervising provisional supervisors. Participants will be introduced to a learning module that all CASC supervisors will complete prior to supervising provisional supervisor-educators. Feedback from participants will assist in refining or expanding the module. The session is applicable to current teaching, associate and provisional supervisors, those interested in becoming a supervisor, and members who want to keep abreast of the changes in CASC. Angela Schmidt is a Teaching Supervisor at the Royal Victoria General Health Centre in Barrie, Ontario and the Chair of the Accreditation Committee for the Educational Standards Comission.


C3. “Spiritual Care in Working with the Formerly Incarcerated”

This workshop will examine the challenges and blessings of providing spiritual care in correctional institutions as well as the effectiveness of spiritual care and support for the formerly incarcerated in reducing recidivism. Through the sharing of stories we will look at “successes” and “failures” in walking with former offenders in the midst of the struggles and barriers of reintegrating. Dave Feick is the Program Coordinator with Micah Mission in Saskatoon and facilitates Communities of Support for recently released individuals.


C4. “Spiritual Care practices: honouring the generosity of Transplant Donors and Creating Rituals for Staff”

Spiritual Health Services (SHS) are key players in promoting whole person care in medical settings. At HSC Winnipeg, SHS are part of the organ transplant team attending to the emotional and spiritual needs of all involved. SHS are present with families and staff during the consent and operational stages. They helped develop a variety of practices to honour the generosity of the donors, and rituals that enable staff to feel more content with their role in what can be a dehumanizing process. Beth Sawatsky is Director of Spiritual Health Services and Doug Koop is a Spiritual Health Practitioner at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba.


C5. “The Contribution of Parallel Process & Emotional Intelligence in Supervision”

What is the “secret ingredient” for supervision of Clinical Pastoral Education? As with other courses students engage in a knowledge transfer around such topics as spirituality, grief, suffering, spiritual assessments and personality theories. There is an ‘apprenticeship’ component for developing Rogerian informed listening skills. Yet one of the goals of a basic unit is “to become aware and demonstrate awareness of one’s personhood.” This goal becomes imbedded in the competencies related to “self-awareness” and “personal development”. Using concepts from Parallel Process and Social/Emotional Intelligence this workshop seeks to explore the “secret ingredient” of supervision in CPE.   Brian Walton is the Spiritual Care Educator at St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon.


C6. “The African Immigrant experience: Spiritual world views and CASC”

Clinicians are aware that ‘one size fits all’ doesn’t work in therapeutic setting.  And yet, in fulfilling our professional mandate, our intake process remains the same for everyone–formal interviewing, consent, assessment, planning and intervention. Have you thought about the impact of this process on immigrant clients? Have you considered an alternative way of doing this? This workshop will help you discover how to enter into the world of the African Immigrant for therapeutic intervention. Daniel Oduro Sem is a Ph.D. candidate at Wilfred Laurier University and a practitioner in Spiritual Care

C7. “Seeing Dementia from the Other Side”

Have you ever wondered why it is so difficult to communicate with someone who is living with dementia? A practical “how-to” that will change the way participants think and feel about dementia, this workshop promises to deliver new skills to help you communicate differently and more effectively with persons living with dementia or any type of progressive brain change. Angela King is Spiritual Care Practitioner with the Good Samaritan Society Southgate Care Centre, Edmonton and Good Shepherd Care Home, Wetaskiwin,AB.


CASC/ACSS Conference 2017

Schedule for 2017 Convention






April 26, 2017

Morning and Afternoon

Pre-Convention Workshops

1900 to 2100 ·    Ceremonial Opening

·    Keynote #1


·    President’s Reception

·        welcome by the Planning Committee;·        ceremonial greeting from invited guests; (Treaty 6 representatives)

·        Presentation on TRC Recommendations

·   President’s Reception

2100 to 2200 food, drink and socializing
Thursday,April 27, 2017 0700 to 0815 ·   Newcomers Breakfast;·    Counsellors/ Specialists/ Teaching Supervisors Breakfast ·   Free for Newcomers·   Others pay for breakfast at registration
0830 to 0900 Worship  
0900 to 1015 Keynote #2  
1015 to 1045 Break  
1045 to 1200 Breakout Session #1  
1200 to 1330 Lunch ·        on your own
1200 to 1330 Foundation Board Meeting  
1330 to 1530 AGM #1  
1530to 1600 Break  
1600 to 1730 Breakout Session #2  
1745 to 1815 Busses to Western Development Museum ·  1745 buses to the museum
1830 to 2000 Meal ·  menu already arranged
2000 to 2030   ·        Humorous presentation by Jeff O’Brien (City Archivist)
2030 to 2200 ·    Tours of the Museum

·    Dance and Social time

·   Concordia Brass Band
2115   ·        Early bus to hotel
2145   ·        Middle bus to hotel
2215   ·        Late bus to hotel
Friday,April 28, 2017 0600 to 0815 Fun Run/Walk and Breakfast  
0830 to 0900 Worship  
0900 to1015 Keynote #3  
1015 to 1045 Break  
1045 to 1200 Breakout Session #3  
1200 to 1330 Lunch ·   PPC Awards
1330 to 1530 AGM #3  
1530 to 1730 Free time  
1730 to 1800 Reception  
1800 to 2200 Banquet ·   Welcome of special guests·   Certification certificates

·   Accreditation certificates

·   Verda Rochon Award

·   Presentation from next year’s planning committee

Saturday,April 29, 2015 0715 to 0815   ·        on your own
0830 to 0930 Memorial Service  
0945 to 1145 AGM #3  
1145 to 1230 Closing Ceremonies  



Please check on the descriptions for the Preconference Workshops, Conference Workshops and Fees, and Event Schedule by clicking on the tabs to the left or scrolling down to the bottom of this page.

When Ready to book your workshops and selections please click on the registration buttons on either the top or bottom of the main conference page (Event overview)

Early bird discount now over

Don’t have time to attend the full conference?   

One Day Conference Rates and Keynote Address Only Events are available!



FULL DAY of Pre-Conference Workshops                                           $150.00

HALF DAY of Pre-Conference Workshops                                           $90.00

FULL DAY of Ethics Education Module                                                $50.00

Full Conference EARLY BIRD (members only)                                   $495.00

FULL CONFERENCE (Member Emeritus/Retired/Student/Spouse)         $345.00

FULL CONFERENCE (Non member)                                                   $575.00

ONE DAY Conference                                                                                $175.00

KEYNOTE ONLY ADDRESS (Meal NOT included)                             $50.00






We accept Visa, MasterCard or cheque. Please do not leave any spaces in the credit card number. Please register and pay for one person at a time.

Cheques are to be made out to Canadian Association for Spiritual Care (CASC)

 Mailing Address for Registration Cheques: 

CASC 2017 Registration

#38 – 425 Bayfield Crescent

Saskatoon, SK S7V 1E6



A late fee charge of $50.00 will apply to registration fee balances not received by April 26, 2016 at midnight.



Full Refund up to March 15, 2017

50% refund after March 15, 2017

No refund after April 14, 2017

No refunds due to inclement weather affecting travel

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The Conference Logo is the creation of a local grade 11 student Angelo Pacana who won our design contest.

Angelo’s Bio and explanation of his winning entry:

“I am Angelo Pacana, born on August 9, 1999 in Bohol, Philippines.  I am currently in grade 11 at  E. D. Feehan Catholic High School.   My family and I migrated to Saskatoon in 2012. I am aspiring to be an Architect or a civil engineer in the future.
The colors of the outer circle of the logo represent the medicine wheel. The bridge which is the Broadway Bridge in Saskatoon represents the theme ‘Critical Conversations: Bridges to the Future’. The people with open hands represent CASC as a multicultural organization; welcoming people
of various ethnic backgrounds.”

If one looks closely you can see the outline of the Bessborough hotel between the bridge arches.
More info on Key Note presenters and conference details to follow as they become available.

We are now taking on-line registrations.