What to Expect

Whenever you attend a service with St. Hildegard’s Sanctuary, you are extended an invitation – from the welcome table that greets you as you enter, to the gentle language of our service, to the opportunity to creatively explore where you are experiencing the Holy in sacred story and in your own life. This invitation is at the core of who we are at St. Hildegard’s. Simply come as you are and respond as the Spirit moves you.

We gather at 5PM on Sunday evenings with a brief orientation to the time and space. The service itself includes a mixture of poetry, song, and gospel in the style of lectio divina (divine reading). Following the gospel reading, there is time for creative contemplation, when participants disperse and gather around various art stations to respond creatively to the texts we’ve shared. Our musician plays gentle, contemplative music as participants make use of watercolours, light candles, interact with sand trays, write, read, or simply sit and quietly reflect. At the conclusion of this time, we gather again, and those who wish to do so are welcome to place their creations in the centre of the circle as an offering.

Once regathered, we celebrate Holy Communion, where all who wish are invited to receive, before concluding with a final poem, song, and blessing. We depart quietly to carry our contemplative spirit out into the world. A small table filled with comfort items, such as teas and chocolates, holding stones, and art supplies, awaits you as you leave our space. Here the invitation to is to take something to carry with you, to remind you of the time, and of God’s love.

A singing bowl and candle on a colourful table cloth.
A gentle chime marks our movement through the service.
Two people lean over a table filled with art supplies as they work on creating art.
The centre of our service is time to respond creatively to the texts.
A table filled with small items, including chocolates, tea bags, and small wooden crosses.
Our comfort table offers small tokens to take with you as you leave.
To step into a space that is invitational, that is about grace and beauty as exquisite expressions of who God is and God’s way in our lives, a space sensitive to those who’ve suffered trauma, with an emphasis on comfort and safety in a space of worship and contemplation…it was like landing in an oasis, at a time when I was parched.
Sandra Vander Schaaf

A Trauma Sensitive Service

We have sought to make our worship space, liturgy, and practices trauma sensitive, in recognition that many people in our midst have experienced trauma of various kinds. While remaining true to our Anglican identity, we have adapted our words and practices. Also, as a contemplative community, we are mindful to use the spoken word sparingly, leaving room for silence, contemplation, and wonder.