KENSINGTON – While they share many of the same problems, men and women also have unique cultural experiences and face different challenges.
But while women tend to come together in fellowship to help each other discuss and overcome their challenges – whole generations of men have been conditioned to the opposite: to revile showing weakness, to be competitive with each other and to soldier on alone in times of personal hardship.
And that’s a real shame, because men can be real sources of strength and comfort to each other, said Alan Stewart.
Stewart, a Presbyterian minister for churches in Kensington and New London, has spent years lecturing and working on various men’s issues.
His latest project is called “A Gathering of Men: Six Fridays in Lent.”
He’s billing it as an opportunity for men to come together and discuss whatever comes to mind, be that personal challenges or hockey.
And while he’s using the context of faith during these exercises, he added that all denominations are welcome, as he will be using the stories of the Bible as allegories to modern issues facing men.
“I guess you could say it’s ‘masculine spirituality’ is what it’s about,” said Stewart.
“You’re spirituality is what assists you in making your life’s choices – that’s what it comes down to. All men are spiritual, so it’s really about strengthening our decision making,” he said.
These get-togethers will be held every Friday evening from March 7 until April 11, at The Fellowship Centre in Kensington Presbyterian Church, 54 Victoria Street East.
Anyone who’d like more information about the sessions can contact Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stewart said he’d like to encourage all men who are interested to bring a friend and come out to one of the meetings.
It can sometimes be difficult to attract men to these types of meetings, he acknowledged, but added there’s nothing to fear.
“There really isn’t anything to be afraid of. You don’t have to spill your guts – in fact, why would you? You should only do that if you trust the other person. That trust has to be built, confidences have to kept,” he said.
“But I tell you, once you’ve experienced that – you want more of it,” he said.