Spirituality on the rise?

Spirituality on the rise?

BILL LAYE
Herald-Tribune staff

As we enter the new millennium, the material world is becoming far less fashionable, say members of Grande Prairie's religious community.
"There are signs everywhere that people are seeking the spiritual reality - that they're acknowledging that their essence is spiritual and not physical," noted Catherine Patrick, a member GP's Baha'i community.
The Baha'i have no standing clergy and are represented in each community by an elected council, of which Patrick is a member.
"We see more and more people trying to satisfy their spiritual yearnings and some of this means that they're looking at new ways of expressing their spirituality," she said.
Father Gerry Pettipas of St. Joseph's Catholic Church has noted this trend, too. He said he even heard an avowed atheist on a recent radio broadcast expressing a desire to discover the metaphysical.
"There's something in human beings, at our heart, that says there is something transcendent to life - there is more than just what I experience here and now," he said.
And, when he sees the public breath a sigh of relief at the treaties signed in Ireland and Israel this past decade, he says he agrees with Patrick that the human race is ready for a little more peace on earth.
"There's a feeling of, 'At last, we're coming to some kind of end of this!' " he said.
But now is the time for believers to get online in prayer even more.
"That isn't just saying prayers. It's really being reflective and trying to understand the world around us in a spiritual way," he said.
And it's also time to remember the basics of faith.
"These are the kind of things that can inspire my everyday life and bring meaning to even the mundane," he said.
Once focused, the challenge for the church will be the same one it has faced for the past 2,000 years - joining the ethereal with the tangible, says Rev. Joanna MacQuarrie of St. Paul's United Church.
"A deep personal faith and a deep sense that God is present and with you is one-half of the equation - the other half is how that shows in my life and your life," she said, adding living that life is something we all need to work on daily.
"But if something like the start of a new millennium causes us to concentrate on it and to maybe regroup our priorities a little bit, that's good news too."


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