Rev Tom Esakin, Nanaimo, BC, was appointed a Designated Minister with Clergy Support Memorial Church on March 29th, 2016. He was recommended by the Rev Patrick Tracy of this Fellowship.
We believe he will bring to our Fellowship a depth and breadth in interfaith practice, experience, theology and knowledge.
- BA (major in Political Science, minor in Philosophy) from Simon Fraser University, Canada.
- MA (with thesis) in Sustainable Development from Staffordshire University, UK.
Theological Achievements in Spiritual Formation & Spiritual Direction
After a two-year formal training, Rev Tom was recognized with a Certificate in Spiritual Formation & Certificate in Spiritual Direction, with an interfaith focus, through Jubilee Associates Canada (www.jubileeassociates.ca), an Anglican-rooted and Canada’s first ecumenically-based formal training in spiritual direction.
He is also a member of Spiritual Directors International (www.sdiworld.org), with his professional practice itself being approved for a related professional therapist insurance policy by Lloyd’s.
Rev Tom’s formal spiritual training includes, “Sacred Presence with the Dying” (through the Sacred Dying Foundation and Spirituality & Practice) and he is a Reiki II level practitioner (from Wildflower Reiki in Ontario).
Alongside this, he has taken six years of monthly classes in Sufism (that require daily practices) through the Inayati Order of Sufism (www.soitoronto.org).
Practice of Ministry
For over 15 years, Tom has been a daily meditator in the Theravada tradition of Buddhism and for 6 years he has served as a lay facilitator for the Theravada Buddhist Community of Toronto (www.theravadabuddhistcommunity.org).
Since his return to Vancouver from Toronto, he has joined with a locally-based Theravada Buddhist nun (Ayya Nimmala) to start (in his home) a new community for Buddhist practitioners who wish to deepen in the practices & teachings of the Theravada Buddhist tradition.
Through “Reflective Presence: Consultants in Ministry” (www.reflectivementoring.com), he and an Ontario-based Anglican priest colleague also offer a spiritual direction, pastoral conversations, death doula (palliative journeying), and “prayerful planning” practice, with support of rural & isolated parishes & clergy one of their specialties.
In Spring 2016, Rev Tom was the co-organiser in Vancouver of a series of 4 Death Cafés (www.deathcafe.com) that are being held in partnership with various community organisations based in the city.
In his earlier professional life, Tom was as an educator & consultant in sustainability/sustainable development, which had him engage at Ryerson University with adult-learners newly-arrived in Canada from over 42 countries on earth.
Interfaith Religious Spirituality
Rev Tom feels at home in Christian ecumenism, Buddhism – the Theravada tradition, Sufism – Universal Sufism, Agnosticism and Atheism and he holds a general, practiced, understanding of Judaism and Hinduism. From SFU, he holds a minor in Philosophy focused on ethics.
His life, professional and personal, has had him experience living in rural, urban, isolated, and First Nations communities across five Canadian provinces and three countries (Canada, Haiti, México).
- In Haiti, he served as a Layman Nurse for Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity.
- In Vancouver, he has worked alongside HIV/AIDS patients as well as with service-delivery organisations in Vancouver’s spiritually-thirsty Downtown Eastside.
- In México, he worked at a public university where he both developed & taught an English-based curriculum in sustainable development to mostly Mayan students (for whom some a Mayan dialect was their first language, Spanish their second, and English their third).
His spiritual-deepening includes silent retreats at:
- Buddhist (the Birken Forest Monastery in BC (http://birken.ca/);
- Arrow River Forest Hermitage in Northern Ontario (www.arrowriver.ca) and;
- Benedictine (in México) monasteries;
- the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine Anglican convent in Toronto;
- and over years alongside his Buddhist sangha in Toronto (www.theravadabuddhistcommunity.org).
The Breadth of Rev Tom’s Spirituality
This breadth in spirituality adds joy to Rev Tom’s life and has helped him feel closer to God. For the various Anglican/Episcopal parishes that his work-travels have privileged him to be a member of in rural and urban Canada, and in foreign parishes, he has served as: a spiritual director, communion server, intercessor, Diocesan Synod Delegate, homilist, outreach board member, Church Treasurer, vestry meeting participant, and bulletin editor.
He has: walked with Christ-to-the-cross during many Easter seasons; participated in worship services in various Jewish synagogues, Hindu temples/kirtans, Islamic mosques, Sufi dergahs, and Universal Worship Services.
Plus participated in: Christian meditation, Labyrinth meditative-walking, Kabbalist talks and Jewish chant, First Nations sweat-lodges and ceremonies, Mayan/Aztec temazcals, formal-training in Sema (Sufi whirling-meditation), a Wicca ceremony, monthly Dances for Universal Peace, and Chinese holistic practices.