Message to the Congregation of Trinity United Church from Shuchanna Swaby of HopeSpring
Reverend Côté, Mr. Rutherford, Ms. Dubé, special guests and parishioners, my name is Shuchanna Swaby and I am the new Chair of the Board of Directors at HopeSpring Cancer Support Centre. And on behalf of HopeSpring Cancer Support Centre we thank you so much for inviting us into your House of worship.
Every inspiring journey begins with a vision and deep passion. With undying faith, true hope and unending love Dan Blasutti and various Members of our community envisioned a concept where those in Waterloo region and beyond could gather in a sacred place where they could find comfort, support, hope and spiritual guidance no matter how/where/when cancer impacted their lives or the lives that haloed those around them. For the past 21 years, HopeSpring has endeavoured to carry out this mission. This Herculean feat would not have been possible without the last 5 years of dedication from our incredible team: Linda Maxwell, our Director of Operations, Anne Day, our Cancer Care Coach, Anita Woodard our Grant and IT specialist and our bookkeeper Kim. All were steadfast and kept deep faith ensuring that the vital services our members so desperately needed were still offered. They never let us or the members down and for that we owe them a debt of gratitude.
My journey started with my own cancer diagnosis in September 2012. In 2013 I discovered HopeSpring and found emotional healing and support through this difficult experience. I like to say that while my doctors gave me my health back, HopeSpring gave me my life back. Our most recent Board structure includes 2 new members, who drive a "can do" vision into our conversations and strategies. Our new Board is a mix of cancer survivors, care givers, and passionate community members who have heard the HopeSpring calling. We are using our cancer experiences to form the best possible future for HopeSpring Cancer Support Centre in the Waterloo region for years to come.
Like any journey there are peaks and valleys, successes and challenges. Some of those challenges are more difficult to navigate than others. In our history, the biggest challenge for us was a lack of solid fundraising strategies and an execution plan to sustain us. Most recently, we did not reach out to the community for help and we began to lose focus and hope for the future of HopeSpring. For this we are truly sorry. We underestimated the community compassion and Waterloo region's entrepreneurial spirit to succeed.
Concerned citizens came to the table when we announced closure and ignited new found passion and created Hope for HopeSpring's call for help to the community and Trinity United Church responded in a significant way. Your church embraced us, did not pass judgement on us, instead provided much needed reassurance and helped to guide us - just as God guides all of us, his children, to live generous, just, compassionate god filled lives. Trinity United Church uniquely became a saviour in our journey and for that we are forever grateful.
You have helped lead us on our HopeSpring healing, spiritual journey - a journey of true hope. We are inspired by the values you have engrained and live each day as members of Trinity United Church. We are taking action to parallel our values to those of your church - compassion, respect, gratitude, faith and joy. And these integrities will guide us to greater transparency, accountability, community voice and fiscal responsibility, which have become our newest cornerstones at HopeSpring. Humility, humbleness and grace will lead HopeSpring to its new chapter in our community.
Thank you for becoming an integral part of our journey. Thank you for your prayers and your blessings bestowed. Thank you for opening your doors to us, and thank you for your deep generosity. You are fulfilling one part of your mission as a church through this partnership - supporting those seeking hope and new beginnings. I am in full confidence, as the doors remain open at HopeSpring, and members discover and continue to use our services, that a piece of Trinity United Church's mission will live on in each member's journey. You have sown the seeds, began to fertilize the soil and it is now HopeSpring's vital job to nurture this garden, watch over it, keep it safe, in order to reap a plentiful Hope harvest. A harvest given so generously in God's generous love. Without knowing how to express our depth of appreciation to show the deep gratitude we have for all of you - I am left with the simplest of words which mean so very much - Thank YOU.