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
Rev Tom trained as an interfaith spiritual director (also referred to as a spiritual companion or coach) through the Jubilee Associates Canada (www.jubileeassociates.ca), an Anglican-rooted and Canada’s first ecumenically-based formal training in spiritual direction. As a helping practitioner, he is a member of Spiritual Directors International (www.sdiworld.org). He also serves as an invited member of the Council of the ‘Pacific Jubilee’ educational program (http://pacificjubilee.ca/the-association/).
In support of his studies and work in interfaith, Tom has taken eight years of monthly classes in Sufism (which require daily practices) through the Inayati Order of Sufism (www.soitoronto.org). For nearing 20 years he has been a Buddhist meditator in the Theravada tradition. He helped found the Dhamma Wheel Vancouver Theravada lay community, as led by Buddhist nun Ayya Nimmala. For six years he served in Toronto as a lay-facilitator for the Theravada Buddhist Community (www.theravadabuddhistcommunity.org). From 2017-2019 he served as a member and Co-Chair of the Ecumenical & Multifaith Unit of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster.
Practice of Ministry
Through “Reflective Presence: Consultants in Ministry” (www.reflectivementoring.com), Rev Tom and an Ontario-based Anglican priest colleague provide supports in spiritual direction, pastoral conversations, death doula (palliative journeying), and “prayerful planning”, with support of rural & isolated parishes & clergy one of their specialties.
Over 2015 to 2018, Tom facilitated 1-on-1 and group end of life and interfaith psyhe-spiritual supports in Metro Vancouver. He co-conceived, delivered and also presented at Canada’s first “End of Life Expo” (https://www.sfu.ca/continuing-studies/events/2017/11/end-of-life-expo-2017.html); a day of “transformational learning” held in Fall 2017 in partnership with Simon Fraser University (SFU). After this event, SFU invited him to co-design and co-instruct in an end of life course at SFU, held in 2018. Over this time Tom also facilitated 4 “Dying Matters: Information & Conversations” workshops and 14 Death Cafes (www.deathcafe.com) with Vancouver-area community partners, such as community centres, churches and cemeteries. In 2017, he was invited to host a series on the “Death Matters Live” show of Vancouver Co-op Radio (www.coopradio.org/content/death-matters-live), where he interviewed diverse religious leaders (priests, imams, spiritualists, rabbis) on the end of life teachings of their various traditions.
In his earlier professional life, Tom was as an educator & consultant in sustainability/sustainable development, which had him design curriculum and instruct at all of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Ryerson University in Toronto, and Universidad del Caribe in Cancun, México. At Ryerson, his work had Tom connect with adult-learners newly-arrived in Canada from over 42 countries and 6 continents 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.
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.