Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D., Kitchen Table Wisdom
The quote from Remen grounds me as I seek to activate the mission of The Abbey in my daily work and life. Founded in 2021 as a virtual ministry of St. Andrew's Guelph - the congregation I served from 2003 to 2023, The Abbey sought to be "a safe space to care for those who tend to all things spiritual." Over 25 years as a faith leader, I have witnessed - and personally experienced - the toil that this unique calling takes on us. Through webinars, conversations, and one-on-one support, it was my vision to remind my colleagues that they are not alone in the important work that they do as well as offer them tangible wisdom to aid them in thriving in their life and work. This personal mission of mine continues to unfold as I now serve in the role of Director of the Centre for Lifelong Learning at Knox College, Toronto. Called into this position on August 1, 2023, I'm delighted to be able to take my gifts, expertise, and passion to the next level.
I was ordained in 1998 and served Rexdale Presbyterian Church, Toronto as my first charge. In 2003, I was called to St. Andrew's Guelph and served alongside this community of God's people for twenty years. Since making the transition to Knox College, we've remained in Guelph and are proud to call it a place to call home. As I've travelled this journey of ministry leadership, I have expanded my skills and expertise over the years in the areas of conflict management, traumatology, and resilience. I served as the volunteer chaplain of my local police service for seven years and had the opportunity to grow in my knowledge around mental health and stress management. In 2020, I became an Associate with Tend Academy where I offer training in Empathic Strain, Moral Distress, and Organizational Health. My own personal experience with empathic strain, burnout, and overwhelm has fueled my passion for this work in the faith community and beyond.