When people hear “Sorrento Centre”, countless things come straight to mind. The unbridled joy of children relishing their time with family and companions old and new, and appreciation for the beauty of God's creation at the Centre are certainly two of them! “we are the children of heaven's creation” is a line from the praise song More Than We Can Ask Or Imagine written by longtime Sorrento Centre associate and supporter, Bishop Gordon Light. Bishop Light is the former suffragan bishop to the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior, now known as the Diocese of The Territory of the People. This song is in Sorrento Centre's Songs and Canticles for Liturgy book, "The Earth Rejoice". The present challenges for our earth and their local impact which include the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the unprecedented BC heat wave of July 2021, and the hundreds of forest fires ravaging the province were very much in the thoughts and prayers of those gathered at the Centre July 18-23
Since 2018, Deacon, the Reverend Michael Shapcott has been Sorrento Centre's Executive Director. On the first evening he led a welcome gathering in the outdoor amphitheatre, Kekuli, during which he introduced the children and youth leaders, offered thanks to all the guests, shared information about the planned events for the coming week, and provided information regarding the staff, property and current safety protocols.
This was programming week two of Sorrento's “Five Weeks of Summer”, presenting a variety of opportunities for learning, relaxing, worshipping, playing and gathering, but always considerate of ways to help keep everyone safe.
Kathie MacDuff led a course titled Creative Journaling. Kathie is a longtime course leader at the Centre, and is the Expressive Arts Team Lead at Wellspring in Calgary. A theme was presented and participants used words, images and a variety of mixed media techniques to unearth, explore and record their responses, thoughts and emotions. Participants united in hope, support and camaraderie as they journeyed towards creativity. Their creations were displayed at the week’s closing gathering.
Award-winning harpist, singer, author and storyteller Jeff Stockton (also from Calgary) led a course titled Blessings Upon Blessings. Jeff focusses on Celtic heritage and spiritually, and leads retreats and workshops on meditations, wellness and Celtic Shamanism. Participants used song, story and art to connect with the land and to celebrate the blessings surrounding all of us on earth. In the oral tradition of the Celts, few things were considered as powerful as blessings. Course participants used stillness and movement, time indoors and outdoors, and time both together and individually for work and expression. Jeff played harp and sang a beautiful song at the closing gathering in the Centre's outdoor chapel, St. Francis.
Kevin Zakresky, director of music at St. Titus, Oakridge in Vancouver is again serving as musician-in-residence at Sorrento this summer. In their three days together, Kevin instructed (with his own special brand of humour and engaging charisma) the children and youth as they learned two songs from Mary Poppins, "Chim Chim Cheree" and "Super-cali-fragil-istic-expi-ali-docious". He unexpectedly returned to Vancouver on the fourth/performance day, but piano accompaniment and music direction backup came by way of the very capable hands and talents of the Rev. David Taylor (Rector of St Dunstan's, Aldergrove) and the Rev. Andrew Halladay (Vicar of St Andrew's, Langley) who were attending the Centre that week. Both have led many worship services and courses at the Centre over the years. Reverends Halladay and Taylor with their extended family are all longtime Sorrento Centre supporters and Rev. Halladay currently serves as Chair of the Board. Parents, friends and all others who gathered enjoyed the musical performances by the young ones! Kevin was sent videos of what he’d missed.
At 8am, Monday through Thursday, worship services were held in St. Francis’ outdoor chapel. This worship tradition is a peaceful and beautiful way to start the day, with birds chirping overhead and an unobstructed view of Shuswap Lake. Another weekly tradition, the campfire and sing-along was not available for 2021, however, the province-wide campfire ban did not stop a resourceful few from making S'Mores in other creative ways, namely, microwave! The final day of children and youth programming always ends with Water Games, held on the large field at the Centre. This is always fun for all, whether they are participating or spectating. The Water Games include a water slide, ice challenges and other water-related relays and activities.
The Centre's large private beach and surrounding area is a popular spot for guests of all ages, and Shuswap Lake was refreshing and picturesque as always. Thursday was the closing gathering in the outdoor chapel, followed by the traditional outdoor dinner banquet attended by the majority of registered guests. The closing gathering is an opportunity for the hardworking staff, course and worship leaders to be formally thanked by the Executive Director. The closing gathering is also an opportunity for course leaders to speak about their highlights and experiences from the week. The dinner outside of Richardson Lodge is a great way for friends new and old to gather in an informal environment, chat about the week, have some time and laughs together, and enjoy the beautiful setting.
There is something for people of all ages at Sorrento Centre. It is a one-of-a-kind gem in the Anglican Church of Canada community that must be experienced. If you have never been, plan to attend soon! If you have not attended lately, please give Sorrento a call, in order to catch up, and to find out about upcoming events. If you are seeking rest and relaxation in one of the most beautiful and welcoming settings in Canada, the Centre offers a wide variety of year-round accommodation options. Sorrento Centre largely relies on donations. Whether a one-time gift or monthly contributions, please consider making a financial contribution to support this much-needed ministry. Information on how you can help support the Centre, along with all other information, can be found on the web site, www.sorrentocentre.ca
ALL PHOTOS BY JANE DITTRICH