Speaker

Anne-Speaker

 

I give speeches to progressive religious/spiritual organizations, women’s groups and community organizations.

Please check out some of the testimonials below, followed by a sampling of recent themes – talk to me about customizing a message for your particular organization.

What some of my audiences have to say:

“With a generous spirit, Anne strives to know her audience and what might be most helpful to them. Her presentation is personal and informative, crafted with warmth, good humour, and an informed and thoughtful approach to her subject matter.”

- Rev. Laurie White, St. Andrews United Church, Hamilton

“As a group of women whose goals include improving the status of women and girls, we found Anne's talk both pertinent and delightful.” 

- Judith Purdell-Lewis, Canadian Federation of University Women

“Anne is a gifted speaker.  She provides a powerful, thought-provoking presentation, weaving her personal experience with her comprehensive research and sensitive analysis.”

- Sheila Bjarnason, Chair, Worship Committee, Unitarian Congregation of Mississauga

“Anne’s message to our congregation was wonderfully engaging and thought provoking. Several of our folks commented on how they felt a strong personal identification with Anne’s message. We look forward to having her back soon.”

- Daniel Peace, Worship Chair, New Vision United Church

"It was both a pleasure and great education to hear Anne speak about her experience of leaving a fundamentalist faith. She is very engaging and professional in her presentation and addresses a difficult topic with both humour and authority.”

- Drummond White, Unitarian-Universalist Church of Durham

"Anne is a wonderful storyteller and our group thoroughly enjoyed her anecdotes, which were shared with humility and humour — as well as insight into women's lives. She is embarking on a courageous My Year of Living Spiritually journey for the next year and we are glad she could share it with us.”

- Laura Macro, Women for Women group, Erin Mills United Church, Mississauga, Ont.

Topics

My Year of Living Spiritually

Anne shares insights from her year-long bi-weekly "My Year of Living Spiritually" blog (published in the United Church Observer) in which she experiments with variety of spiritual practices – from hiring a ‘soul coach’ to setting up a home altar, toying with tarot, daily meditation, community drumming, creating a gratitude practice, consulting a shaman, forest bathing, reiki, tai chi, hosting a death dinner, getting a tattoo and dancing naked under a full moon.

The XYZ's of the SBNR

One in four Canadians are "religiously unaffiliated," up from just 4% in 1971. That number is even higher among Canada's nine million millennials -- 36% of them have no church affiliation. Many of these people identify as "spiritual-but-not-religious" (SBNR) and are seeking an experience of the divine in ways that have nothing to do with pews, pulpits, and preaching. Anne's monthly award-winning column, Spiritual But Secular, runs in each issue of the United Church Observer and reports on how the SBNR are engaged in all kinds of spiritual practices, from drumming circles to pagan rituals, meditation, forest bathing, community singing groups, ecstatic dance, yoga, pilgrimages, reiki, gratitude exercises, 12-step programs, tarot reading and more in an effort to create meaning in their lives. Does this group have something to teach churchgoers about finding purpose, meaning and community? Anne's extensive research on the SBNR reveals what the motivations and desires of this growing group of spiritual seekers.

Looking for Light: How I left Fundamentalism Behind

When I was 20, I was told by church elders that my “soul was barred from the gates of heaven” after I decided to leave the strict fundamentalist church of my youth. For years I floundered, lost in a spiritual wilderness — until I found my place in the freethinking Unitarian community. It took me 20 years to find my spiritual home. I share the highs and lows of that very worthwhile journey.

Tales from the Writing Life

Working as a journalist for the past 30 years I feel as though I’ve been given a ringside seat to the human drama unfolding all around me. In this talk I share some of my favourite articles I’ve worked on, including some of my first-person journalism: taking up skiing at age 50, learning to stop being a helicopter mom, what I did when I realized I was drinking too much, living in the wilderness without wi-fi on one of North America’s oldest communes with my family for a few days, growing up without a father and organizing a large protest at Hamilton Place when Bill Cosby came to town.

Feeding The Soul

The average Canadian watches 28 hours of TV every week, surfs social media 36 hours a month and spends a full five years of their life shopping. Is this how we find our deepest joy? “The soul should always stand ajar,” said the poet Emily Dickinson, “ready to welcome ecstatic experience.” This talk focuses on how to live a more soulful life.

Simplifying the Holidays

It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. But for most women, the holidays are a nightmare of busyness. The American Psychological Association reports more women than men feel stressed at Christmas — and have a harder time relaxing and enjoying the season. Here’s how to let go of the idea that it’s up to moms to make Christmas magic. Learn about practical strategies for decreasing stress – and increasing meaning – around the holidays.

To book Anne to speak at your organization or event please contact her directly by clicking here.