9:00 am — 2:00 pm
Bethel Canadian Reformed Church
Bethel Canadian Reformed Church, 11251 Bayview Ave, Richmond Hill, Ontario, L4S 1L8, Canada
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Transforming Lives with Music and Art

Transforming Lives with Music and Art is a conference to equip and encourage Christians to use music and art to minister to the older population. Through workshops, sharing and demonstrations, we hope to show the power of music and art to enhance well-being, re-activate memory, combat social isolation and help with re-construction of identity. We explore the why and the how, and invite reflections on the spiritual benefits of music. If you have an interest in music and art, or are curious how music and art can be used in ministries, or want to deepen your understanding and enrich your existing programs, you are very welcome to join us.

Who will be there? Family and professional caregivers, seniors, chaplains, music and art volunteers, musicians, therapists, educators, other professionals, or anyone with an interest in music and art. No prior experience necessary.

Date: May 23rd, 2020 (Saturday)

Time: 9:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (registration starts at 9:00 a.m.)

Lunch: Please bring your own brown bag lunch.

Venue: Bethel Canadian Reformed Church, 11251 Bayview Ave, Richmond Hill (North of Elgin Mills Road East on the East side); map

Parking: Plenty of parking at the church premise available.

Cost: $15 (includes tea, coffee and light refreshments); pay at the door – cash only

Registration: Click here to fill in a simple form.

Questions? Contact blessedmelodymakers@gmail.com

[Include poster]

Schedule of the Day:

9:00-9:30         Registration

9:30-9:45         Introduction and Worship

9:45-10:45       Workshop: “Music, Memory and Meaning” by Bev Foster

10:45-11:05     Inspirational Music Ministries for Seniors (nursing homes) – Stella Chung

11:05-11:25     Inspirational Music Ministries for Seniors (adult day program) – Peggy Peacock

11:25-11:45     Inspirational Music Ministries for Seniors (respite program) – Art and Coby Jaarsma

11:45-12:30     Lunch and Networking

12:30-1:30       Workshop: “Visual Creativity, Cognition and Well-Being” by Nicole Balan

1:30-1:50         Inspirational Music Ministries for Seniors (dementia unit) – Ron Wilson and Tom McCormick

1:50-2:00         Closing


Workshop Descriptors and Presenters Bios

 Music, Memory and Meaning

Music accompanies us on our journey and connects us to people, places and events in our lives. It is cross-coded into life passages. Music connects us to our memories and our lived experiences especially as we grow older. This workshop explores how and why we remember music and in particular, how songs connect us through shared feelings, events and ideas that have both cultural, spiritual and personal meanings.


Presenter: Bev Foster. Bev Foster is the Founder and Executive Director of the Room 217 Foundation, an organization dedicated to music and care. She is an experienced musician and worship leader who speaks and writes extensively on the power of music, especially in life limiting situations. Her passion for music enhancing quality of life is contagious.


Visual Creativity, Cognition and Well-Being

“Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”  Pablo Picasso

“I found I could say things with colour and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.”  Georgia O’Keeffe.

Mark-making, using colour, shape, pressure, and various media provides opportunities to process emotions, sensations, and thoughts beyond words.  Zeller (2020) speaks about viewing visual images and verbalizing associations providing opportunities for socializing, focusing and mental processing. This workshop explores the benefits of art therapy with elders and their caregivers, as well as provides some experiential opportunities for participants to experience their own creative process.  It also discusses some of the results of a major project with elders in a long term care residence creating their own visual biography legacy projects.

Presenter: Nicole Balan. Nicole Balan is currently training at the Toronto Art Therapy Institute (TATI).  She has been working with elders in two long term care / retirement residences.  Her art therapy major project draws upon reminiscence therapy, narrative therapy, and the spiritual autobiography literature, inviting elders to create visual images, colours and shapes through the decades of their lives, creating a Life Book as a legacy item. Nicole is a graduate of Tyndale Seminary, as well as the Toronto Institute of Relational Psychotherapy.  She is active in various lay ministries, enjoys creative pursuits, and is a life-long learner.

Inspirational Music Ministries for Seniors

Four groups of presenters will share their experience in using music in their ministries, including demonstrating with music. The contexts include an Adult Day Program, nursing homes, and a monthly program for the seniors in the county on a respite day for the caregivers. The kinds of music used vary. Come and learn from one another and offer your ideas.

Stella Chung is a family caregiver, a soprano and a spiritual director. She is passionate about sharing the love of God through music with those in need of blessings and encouragements. Having conducted a research on seniors, offered music programs at nursing homes for five years and ministered to her dying father with music, Stella understands the power of music in uplifting the spirit of the lonely, the sick and the dying. To Stella, music is beyond therapeutic; it is God’s unspoken language of love which transcends all differences in race and religion.

Peggy Peacock grew up in Toronto. She has a diploma and a degree in Social Services and Sociology. Soon after graduation, she volunteered for 2 years on a committee at Humbervale Day Centre, which later became Etobicoke Support Services (ESS), an agency working to support seniors in their own homes and community. Peggy worked in the Adult Day Centre of ESS as a Program Co-ordinator for 29 years until she retired in 2019. She was involved in planning and implementing various programs in ESS including several music programs. Peggy strongly believes in the power of music for the well-being of the senior population.

Coby and Art Jaarsma. Coby took piano lessons in her youth, and enjoys playing regularly for pleasure at home.  She accompanies the church organist in leading the singing at church services. Art has always loved music, and has been playing the accordion for pleasure since his teenage years.  His playing is mainly self-taught.

Art and Coby were involved in a ministry called “Friendship” for mentally challenged adults for about 15 years, and Art would accompany the enthusiastic singing with the accordion.  “Friendship” has been discontinued, and Art and Coby are now leading a sing-along group once a month for seniors who are in the beginning stages of dementia. They will share about this program as well as demonstrate some of what they do.

Ron Wilson is an experienced pianist specializing in addling lively rhythms to traditional hymns. He started leading worship and playing music in a monthly service in the local long term care home soon after he moved to the Bradford area. He met Tom McCormick in 2007 and soon they began ministering together, including regularly at Elginwood Long Term Care for the past 10 years, and currently at Oak Ridges Retirement Community. Ron has a collection of recordings of hymns that he played and sang made available on his website http://www.becruciform.com/. Ron is also a chaplain at Eagle Terrace Long Term Care Home in Newmarket.

Tom McCormick has ministered for over 40 years in Nursing Homes, and has been a chaplain in both a Long Term Care Home and a Retirement Community.  In the 1980’s he published a manual for training others. In 2003 he coauthored Nursing Home Ministries.  Currently he is facilitating a program in Ministries for the Ageing.  Tom has served as an overseas missionary in Peru, Papua New Guinea, Cameroon, India, and China.  He lives near Toronto, Canada, while teaching part-time at Tyndale Seminary.

Through a combination of music, song, stories, Scripture, prayer, and in some cases, dance, Ron and Tom have been privileged to participate in leading worship as well as hymn sings.  Together they will demonstrate some of what they have done and share lessons they have learned.

This conference is organized by Blessed Melody Music Ministry and sponsored by the Word and Spirit Institute.


May 23, 2020
9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Blessed Melody Music Ministry

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