By: Katrice Sutherland

Yuiry Derkach, Coordinator of the Spiritual Centre, stands in the main foyer where Lunch and Learn takes place every Wednesday.

Between setting out her homemade oatmeal-fruit muffins and swapping cookie recipes, Kathy McGee casually chatted with students about their educational goals between setting cutlery and slicing bread.

McGee is one of many contributors that put the Lunch and Learn event together.

Since mid-January of 2013, dedicated staff and volunteers at the Spiritual Centre have been urging students to be involved in small get-togethers like the Lunch and Learn that was hosted on Wednesday September 11.

Lunch and Learn is a weekly occurrence at the centre where students and faculty can go to share a complimentary homemade meal, and take part in open discussions.

Topics have included: how to turn worries into positive actions, budgeting sessions, and options for travel. Each week a person of interest related to the topic comes in to enjoy lunch and help students learn something new.

When the faculty initially thought up the idea of a community luncheon, their goal was to offer students something to look forward to in the centre.

Yuriy Derkach said the faculty brainstormed.

“What gifts do we have that we can give to the people who come here? All of us have a gift to cook. So we use our talents to share with others.”

The growing interest around the college has students bringing in dishes of their own, turning the event into a pot luck.

This week, students enjoyed an array of cultural foods from Ukrainian borscht, to fresh Italian ciabatta bread.

The Spiritual Centre introduced Chaplin Joyce Edwards, a former nurse who now leads unaffiliated mission trips to the Dominican Republic.

Edwards unveiled her first experiences and continued efforts helping the ill in the Dominican Republic. Edwards hopes that her story will ignite students of like-mindedness to join her on her quest to help the less fortunate, she said.

“Our goal is to learn how to be good people,” said Edwards.

“People from different countries, cultures, and religions come here to be open with one another to make the world a better place. And what a better place to sit and have this conversation than during lunch?”

Derkach said people join the Lunch and Learn not only to eat, but to receive spiritual nourishment.

“It’s something for our hearts, not only for our stomach,” he said.

The Spiritual Centre also offers a serene green room, filled with garden plants and waterfalls where students of all cultures can go to meditate, relax or pray.

The Spiritual Centre located in E211 in the Student Commons is becoming a popularized area since its open in the fall of last year.

Students can also look forward to a number of other weekly events like bible study groups, daily prayers, yoga, tree planting and campus clean-ups.