Rev Gaspari was Ordained to the Ordered Ministry of Clergy Support Memorial Church on January 1st, 2019 . Her focus will be on performing Life Celebrations and Pastoral Care.
Prior to her Ministry with the Church, she was Ordained in the Buddhist tradition.
She took courses in developing herself as a Buddhist Clergy through the Institute for Contemporary Buddhist Ministry for three years.
This was graduate level learning, of which Rev Gaspari said, “All of this training, these courses helped me mature intellectually and as a human being.”
I listen to people who have been emotionally stressed because of what is going on in their lives. Last year, I gave a friend who had undergone a liver transplant, a guided relaxation/meditation daily for a few months. We would chat as well about what he was going through. He occasionally still thanks me for this gift he was given.
During this same time period, another friend developed breast cancer, and while she was getting chemo, I performed a daily meditation/prayer, sending her energy (like distance healing). She reported these relaxations/meditations brought her peace and relaxation. She attributes her recovery to all the help she had received, which included these meditations.
At the time I was doing this work, I felt a deepening of my own spiritual practice. I felt like I received the gifts.
My formal training was three years in duration. During the last semester of the three years, I took a rituals course and wrote a memorial service which I was able to use on the workshop.
I have also developed a couple of workshops on emotional eating called Developing Your Relationship with Food Through Meditation (one day) and Embracing the Hungry Ghost (weekend long). Embracing the Hungry Ghost deals with addictions, especially food and I received excellent marks on both workshops.
I understand that performing Life Celebrations like Wedding Ceremonies requires a great deal of research into different cultures and religions. I also realize it is not just about standing up in front of the couple and all their guests. Weddings are about listening and writing. The more I develop my skill at listening to what the couple wants and writing a wedding service that meets each couple’s needs, the more comfortable I become performing them.
For the past few years (although not doing it currently), I facilitated a meditation class through our Zen community. During the past few months, (again, not currently), I assisted people to become mindfulness practitioners. I also volunteered assisting the Bishop for a couple of years, who teaches Qi Gong.
A number of years ago, I assisted my friend Susan Ksiezopolski through the Bo Kwang Sangha. In the same type of class, I assisted her again who helps people develop their writing ability through teaching them how different modalities like art and music can stimulate writing (i.e. to rid oneself of the writing block).
I assisted her November, 2018 at the Joshua Creek Heritage Arts Centre, here in Mississauga, in the use of the meditation segment of the class. This workshop is called Writing for Change by Susan Ksiezopolski. Susan wrote the book and lead this class.
Books that impacted me this year
This past year I listened to an audiobook called The Motivation Myth by Jeff Haden. This book helped me to realize many things. For one, I don’t have to be perfect at something right away. It is about developing a skill through daily practice, and like any skill takes time and a lot of effort.
One other book I am still reading is The Four Noble Truths of Love. This book gives a different take on intimate relationships. For instance, most books of this kind focus on how to make everything better. The Four Noble Truths of Love recognizes if you are in a relationship, there is going to be conflict. It is human nature. We are not abnormal if we have conflicts. In fact, it is very normal. It makes marriage more real instead of a fantasy. With conflict, it is not conceding or being authoritarian. To resolve conflict, it is about sharing one’s truth and coming to the realization about the situation and what needs to happen (if anything).
Thoughts on Rites of Passage
I wanted to become an Appointed Minister, because I want to be able to help couples have the wedding they always dreamed of. I want to be of service. I want to fulfill my role as clergy providing all types of services. I want to be a well-rounded clergy. In addition to weddings, I want to do funerals/memorial services, baby blessings and house blessings.
Ministering in this way will impact my life because I have already started reflecting on what is important in a marriage and I have begun to reflect more on my own marriage and life. Performing wedding ceremonies is an honour and a service. A couple is entrusting me with facilitating one of their most important life transitions. I take that trust seriously.
This past summer, I met with Rev Robb McDonald and found him to be very knowledgeable, dedicated and compassionate towards his Ministry career. He inspired me to continue with this process. I look forward to serving the Clergy Support Memorial Church in 2019 and beyond.