Building compassion in District 69

Investing in a social form of capital starts with acts of kindness

“The best portion of a good life,” says William Wordsworth, consists in “little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.”

I was proud to be part of a program called Love Oceanside early this summer, where 75 volunteers from a wide cross-section of the local churches took to the streets for a few hours of random acts of love and kindness to people we mostly had never met. I am hoping this idea continues and grows each year.

Of course, building compassionate lives is a slow process, as are all truly human processes of development.  We have the help of moments of insight and sudden outbreaks of grace, but we mostly learn compassion by practicing compassion on a daily basis. Even allowing for a climate of low interest rates, the compounding of this social form of capital still occurs!

One of the scholarly names we associate with building social capital is Jeremy Rifkin. In Rifkin’s The Empathic Civilization (2010), the author makes the case that human beings have an inherent sociability and capacity for empathy, and that as we nurture this feature of our common life, we can focus more on the quality of our lives rather than material advantage.

We can re-focus our energies away from the monochrome interests of financial capital and personal gain into a collaborative and holistic approach to major and complex issues, such as climate change, fossil fuel depletion, vested-interest protectionism and sustainable development.

In the language of Christian faith, the way Jesus expressed compassionate consciousness for his day was in his programmatic encouragement to “seek first the Kingdom of God “(Matthew’s gospel, chapter 6, verse 31). And then, he says, “all the other things will fall into their rightful place.” As our compassion extends into a biosphere-wide awareness of our connection to others and our attention to the needs of others as well as our own needs, we can let go of corporate egotism and improve the quality of life for everyone.

I believe we have the opportunity and the base to follow the advice articulated by John Wesley, the Methodist founder: “do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”  Or as the Dalai Lama puts it: “be kind wherever possible”  — and with a smile on his face — “… it’s always possible.”

One current example for me of this empathic consciousness is the Compassion Action Network, which is in the business of “partnering with cities to create a global movement of compassion” (http://compassion.is/compassionate-cities/about-compassionate-cities).

Since my last article on the work of the Charter for Compassion (April 27 —  http://www.pqbnews.com/opinion/149152855.html), more than one hundred local citizens have been in touch with me about this movement and how we can carry this forward here.

I take great pride in the mayor and council of the City of Parksville for unanimously affirming the Charter for Compassion this week and helping launch our process for becoming certified in the International Campaign for Compassionate Cities. (My presentations to Qualicum Beach and the regional directors are in process).

I believe we are the first community on Vancouver Island to do this, and we join in not only with the bigger Canadian cities such as Vancouver, Calgary and Winnipeg, but also with smaller communities such as Yellowknife and Whitehorse.

I am sure many of us can think of ways in which we are already expressing compassion through various current programs and activities present in this community.  And I am sure you also can think of ways that we could improve this with additional initiatives.

So here’s a question for your after-dinner conversation this week.  Who wants to come up with a list of the top ten reasons why ‘Compassionate Parksville’  and ‘Compassionate Qualicum Beach’, along with all our regions, should come into being through a combination of civic proclamation and grassroots action?

I would be interested in your answers!

The Rev. Andrew Twiddy is the Rector (pastor) of the Anglican Parish of St. Anne & St. Edmund, Parksville. Questions or comments?   atwiddy99@gmail.com, or 250-594-1549.

Just Posted

Man dead after reported early-morning hit-and-run incident in Parksville

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Retired Nanoose Bay teacher ‘Set for Life’ after $675K lottery win

Shannon plans to buy new sails for his sailboat

Country music star Aaron Pritchett back in Qualicum Beach to play benefit concert

Singer to headline Thalassa restaurant fundraiser for Ronald McDonald house

Order in the chambers: Qualicum Beach votes for council code of conduct

Coun. Robert Filmer’s motion passes unanimously at town meeting

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Most Read