People Profiles are Q & A with members of our church community. Come learn from and about people you see at our events. This Q&A is with Gillian Albers, Board Member and active event leader/organizer
How long have you been with The Star of Hope, and in what capacities?
I started attending The Star of Hope regularly in September 2007. What possessed me to start, I couldn't tell you. After our husbands died in 2003, my girlfriend and I went to one Hope's services when they were located down on Wentworth in Oshawa. I was fascinated. We both received messages from our mothers. I wanted to go back later but the church had moved to another location. Later on I found the Eternal Life Spiritual Centre in Whitby, and attended one of their Divine Services. I loved it but found Sunday morning difficult. How I rediscovered The Star of Hope, I no longer remember, but I did and have been going ever since.
In about November 2007, Eva Pal had given me a healing during the service. Afterwards, she approached me and said that I had given off as much energy as she did and proceeded to tell me I was a Healer. I was surprised but not shocked as some years previously, a psychic had told me I had healing abilities. But I had no idea what all that meant. Then, the following month I made the mistake of suggesting something for the service and next thing I knew I was on the Board of Directors. I have been the Secretary since then and have loved every minute. I feel so honoured and blessed to be part of the growth of an organization that not only cares about people but adds value to their lives.
In the spring of 2000 I lost my job as an independant contractor with a Toronto municipal department and I couldn't find anything else. I knew the summer was not the time to be looking for another contract, but believed the market would open up come September. So, after 13 years of working with only two vacations, a 1 week and a 3 day, I decided to take the whole summer off. I started reading Sylvia Browne's books, a lot of them, and everything made so much sense. I was especially drawn to her attitude of treating things like a smorgasbord and take what makes sense and leave the rest. Wow. I knew I had found what I had been searching for my whole life.
During the coming years I read a lot but didn't know where I could go to find an outlet for these beliefs. When I finally went to The Star of Hope, I was so impressed with the relaxed, accepting ways things were done. Everything was so different from any church I had attended or faith I had belonged to. People were loving and caring but didn't push their ideas on me. I don't think I was ready for what my future held, but in 2007, I started with a passion and chose The Star of Hope because I knew I was home. It all just felt felt right.
What do you enjoy the most about the Church and being on the board of directors?
Being actively associated with an organization that is inclusive. One that cares about people and adds value to their lives - without prejudice, without bias, without judgment. One that continually strives to find better ways to serve the congregation and the community at large. One that wants to build bridges. I have been involved in situations that have been trying at best and the board's attitude has always been to remember the 7th principle "Eternal progress open to every soul....". The board, with Owen Ryan as President, is compassionate, understanding, patient and active. But mostly, The Star of Hope and Spiritualism's 7 Principles are 100% compatible with my personal values and principles. I've never been able to say that about any organizations I was involved in, not business, religious or volunteer.
You have seen Sunday night attendance increase, Wednesday meditation sessions turn into a success, and have been key in growing the Tuesday development workshops as well as other special workshops and celebrations. Where do you see the Church heading in the future?
I love witnessing the growth in attendance at each of our weekly events, and I'm impressed with the level of participation and energy that people consistently bring. The subjects that the Inspirational Speakers bring to our service on Sunday are constantly uplifting and always unique. So too is the quality of messages and proof of survival that our message bearers bring. I see the Church growing in membership and demographics, in particular, people under the age of 30. I see us being a leader in education. I see us doing more outreach, friendly visiting, phone calls, driving people to/from services and workshops. I also see us in our very own location where we can grow and learn without having to be constantly looking for venues and equipment. Oh Happy Day!
How does your background training in different healing modalities and overall wellness mesh with Spiritualism and the Star of Hope?
Firstly, I wouldn't be a healer or have any training if it hadn't been for Hope. Pam Corby, our past President, and Eva Pal, our Treasurer, started to work with me as a Spiritual Healer. Then I met Rev Wilma Trebell through a mediumship development course she was giving and discovered that she was offering Reiki classes. I jumped at the opportunity and took all three levels and received the title of Reiki Master from her. In Feb 2011, I attended a Wellness Fair at Westminster Church in Whitby. There were these people doing healing but different from anything I had seen. The technique was Therapeutic Touch. The woman giving me the healing was Pearl, and it was wonderful. Turned out she had attended Hope 30 years ago. Small world! I was so interested, I began taking Therapeutic Touch workshops. I now have Level 3 and I'm on my way to Practitioner Status. I have also looked at Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Body Talk, and a few others. What I found, is that they are all spiritual in nature, all talk about universal energy and all channel energy. It's just the technique that's different. But each one I learn adds to the previous ones and I feel stronger and more focused. I have come to realize that healing is my primary calling and have been doing it my whole life without knowing or understanding. I feel very humbled and satisfied when I'm healing, regardless of the technique.
If after reading through this website, checking us out on Facebook, and visiting other Spiritual related websites, you decide that you would like to attend one of our events or Sunday service, then all we ask is that you bring an open mind and healthy dose of skepticism. Ask questions and decide for yourself if Spiritualism and The Star of Hope are the right fit for you. And always remember, we don't care where you have been, only where you are going.