Canadian Council of Churches - 75 Years

Community Profile: Sherbrooke, QC

More than fifty years of WPCU in Sherbrooke

For many of the churches in and around Sherbrooke, QC, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has been a regular part of ecumenical life since the late 1960s. What is the secret to such longevity?  

According to Vivienne Galanis, a long-time member of Sherbrooke’s Ecumenical Liaison Committee, it’s the commitment and openness of the people who serve on the Committee that make such a robust tradition possible. Over many years, these ecumenical leaders have demonstrated a vital willingness to look outside their own denominations and engage with fellow Christians from diverse traditions. 

For the churches of the Sherbrooke region in particular, ecumenical flourishing has also meant having leaders—both clergy and laypeople—who are comfortable working in both English and French. Of course, Galanis notes, this bilingualism comes with its own “technical challenges” when planning events that work for the whole community, but these efforts are worth the greater cooperation and trust that develop over the long term.

Like most communities across Canada, the Sherbrooke region’s WPCU celebrations have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the transition to virtual events was not without its difficulties. However, there is hope that this transition will open up new possibilities for the future of the WPCU in Sherbrooke, including more accessible, hybrid services that blend in-person and virtual gatherings. This, in combination with a new generation of incoming Committee leaders, is a hopeful sign that the creative potential of the WPCU in Sherbrooke will continue to unfold for many years to come.