Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D., Kitchen Table Wisdom
The quote from Remen grounds me as I seek to activate the mission of The Abbey. Founded in 2021 as a virtual ministry of St. Andrew's Guelph - the congregation I've served since 2003, The Abbey seeks 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, I hope 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.
The idea of The Abbey was a long time coming and it was only through the unique lens of COVID-19 that it finally came into being. It is a virtual space that seeks to provide what monasteries sought to offer - a safe space for learning, rest, and healing. As its Lead (in the spirit of "Brother John", I strive to curate valuable learning opportunities for faith leaders based on what I'm hearing from colleagues and what I wished I'd known as I began this marathon.
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 it is there I've stayed and made myself and my family 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.
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