About SoulStream

The mission of SoulStream is to nurture contemplative experience with Christ leading to inner freedom and loving service.

Real, honest experience — all the daily stuff with its endless opportunities to open to God’s love, the beautiful surprises to savour, and all the brokenness that we share in common and that calls forth compassion.


We seek to live authentically with Jesus by encouraging one another to receive the gift of God’s intimate and loving presence in all of life.


To that end, SoulStream offers courses such as Living from the Heart, spiritual direction training courses and workshops, a committed contemplative community of partners, and other ways to nurture an awakened, receptive, trusting experience in the face of all the opposing pressures of the world we live in.


SoulStream Values

God’s Constant Initiative in Love

God is good! God is constantly coming to us in love and inviting us into loving communion with the Trinity and with all creation. Jesus is the expression of God in our experience, and our spiritual life is centered on intimacy with Jesus in all the affairs of our lives.

A Receptive Orientation

Our basic stance in life and toward God is one of receptivity rather than achievement. This is the heart of the contemplative way: receptivity to God who is always coming to us in love.

Personhood

We are one in God, although we express God uniquely through our created personality. Every person is made in the image of God and therefore carries the presence of God at the very heart of their existence. Our very identity is freely given to us by God. We are God’s dearly loved children. We do not have to achieve our identity. We simply receive it. Therefore every person has dignity and worth regardless of race, gender, gender identity, sexual identity or orientation, religious beliefs or any other distinction, and every person is to be treated as the bearer of God’s presence in our world.

Authenticity in Community

SoulStream places a strong emphasis on the call of God to be in community with others for the sake of remaining true to the way of Jesus and the task of working together for the healing of the world. This relationship is built on love, a growing process of being grounded in God, and a growing openness with regard to expressed emotions, thoughts, or concerns. Speaking the truth in love about God, faith, ourselves, and the wide diversity of human experiences is affirmed.

An Embodiment of Grace

Grace is the loving activity of God’s presence in our lives. We are fully embraced in grace and we are learning to live in such a way that we embody God’s loving presence at work in our world. By our lives and actions we bring life and hope and a sense of wonder and integration into all our relationships. We call people to notice the beauty of God’s work in their own lives and in the world at large.

Justice and Peace

As God’s people, we seek to embody and evoke the gift of God’s presence in all situations including right relationships (justice) and peace (shalom).
God being our helper, we will endeavour to:

  • approach our divine call to care for the world positively and lightly, knowing that our response will be a natural outflow of our life in God.
  • become more aware of our own complicity and our own inner landscape in terms of attraction and aversion around responding to the world’s beauty and brokenness.
  • support one another in our community, as we continue to converse about our anguish and helplessness around what we see and allow God to move us into hope.
  • join God in healing the world in ways that are true to our own gifts and limitations.

Hope

We trust that, despite all evidence to the contrary, God will accomplish God’s loving and redeeming purposes toward the fulfillment of all things in Christ.

The Basic Commitments Of The SoulStream Partners

Observe regular times of prayer and solitude to nurture our life in God’s love.

We covenant together to find time to pay attention to our life with God, seeking to claim our true identity as God’s beloved children and growing in the freedom God offers.

Attentively respond to the Spirit’s presence and action in our daily choices.

We covenant together to become increasingly receptive in body, mind and emotions to God’s loving action in every area of life. We will seek to let go of our lurking tendencies to self-effort and control and surrender to God’s initiative in our lives.

Help nurture healthy community within the web of relationships in which we live.

We covenant together to live together in our relationships with vulnerability and trust, embracing our weakness and the weakness of others, and trusting God’s restorative action among us.

Create a welcoming space for others without distinction.

We covenant together to offer respect and blessing to all people – regardless of race, gender, gender identity, sexual identity or orientation, religious beliefs or any other distinction – providing a safe place where the beauty and struggle of each person’s experience can be honoured and celebrated.

Act with compassion for justice and peace within the whole of creation.

We covenant to embody God’s presence in our world, promoting care for creation itself in our consumer choices and offering compassion for those who are broken or without power and voice in our society. We will also seek the courage to witness to and act against injustice, exclusion, and exploitation.

Support the mission, activities, and community that are the life of SoulStream.

We covenant together to support the life of our dispersed community by our actions, by our prayers, and by our regular financial contributions in a manner appropriate to our personal circumstances.

SoulStream Leadership Team

Deb Arndt** began her work as SoulStream’s Executive Director on January 1, 2021, grateful to follow the significant legacy of Doug Schroeder, John Kiemele, and Steve Imbach. Deb’s encounter with SoulStream came when she took spiritual direction training (2007-09), where she was immediately caught by the vulnerable and hospitable space this community holds. Deb served on SoulStream’s Leadership Team from 2011-2017 and has co-facilitated Living from the Heart for more than 10 years.

Deb’s background is in education, spending 18 years in the high school classroom. She has served as a Pastor of Spiritual Formation, offered many workshops and retreats, and continues to companion others in spiritual direction. She lives on an acreage outside of Saskatoon, SK with her husband Lavern. They have two adult sons and a lovely daughter-in-law. Deb enjoys nature, hiking, deep connections with others, belly laughs, reading, good food and drink, and their Bernese Mountain dog Ralph.


Audrey Hoehn** is the administrator of SoulStream. Audrey discovered spiritual direction and the contemplative lifestyle 12 years ago and has found it to be a blessing and compliment to the natural rhythm of her life. Audrey is a spiritual director and facilitator of Living from the Heart. She has her office in her home where she meets with directees and does her administration work for SoulStream. Audrey has three adult children, two who are married, and four grandsons, and one granddaughter. Audrey loves reading, cooking for her family and friends, and traveling.


Jeff Imbach* was the founding president of the Henri Nouwen Society of Canada and was one of the co-founders of SoulStream. He a long-time pastor in Calgary and has offered spiritual direction for thirty years. Jeff is the author of two books: The Recovery of Love: Christian Mysticism and the Addictive Society, and the award winning book, The River Within: Loving God, Living Passionately. He also edited Words of Hope and Healing: 99 Sayings by Henri Nouwen. Jeff completed an M.Div. He was personally mentored in spiritual direction by Sr. Nora Cummins, F.C.J. and Sr. Lily Quintos, R.C. Jeff continues to walk with others on their spiritual journey through the practice of spiritual direction along with working alongside the leadership team in giving leadership to SoulStream courses.


Lois Armerding

Lois Amerding* lives in Tsawwassen BC with her cat Gray Monk. She enjoys reading, kayaking, swimming, snowshoeing and going someplace sunny and warm in January/February.
Lois came to SoulStream through a SoulCare group and then Living from the Heart. She has been drawn to more books than she has time to read but is enjoying the personal and spiritual growth that books bring. She looks forward to more of life’s gifts (and struggles) as she lives into retirement.


Irene Fennema* is the partner representative for SoulStream’s Partner Formation Initiative. Irene grew up in Alberta as one of eight siblings. Among the close-knit Dutch Canadian community is where she went to school, church and fell in love with a preacher’s kid, Norm. After marrying, and the birth of their daughter, they packed all their belongings into their 1971 Buick Electra set off for life on the West Coast. Together, while Irene worked and Norm made his way through two grad degrees, they raised their kids (a son was born too).

Irene’s work-life began with many happy years as a bookseller for independent bookshops and most recently, 15 years spent in development/fundraising support (for both public and private institutions). Their home in Victoria, BC is part of a cooperative housing community and is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish people.

Irene’s life of a contemplative looks like slow walks (forest & shoreline) with her eyes and camera on the beauty of this pocket of the world, offering and receiving spiritual direction, participating in soul care groups, disappearing into all kinds of books, holding space for what lays ahead for the church, and happy hour with friends. Her love for the SoulStream community is rooted in the spaciousness she experiences while exploring life in Christ.


Esther Hizsa* lives in Burnaby, B.C. with her husband, Fred. She has a Master of Divinity degree from Regent College and worked for over twenty years as an associate pastor: first in children and youth ministry at Cliff Avenue United and then in local outreach, community building, and preaching at New Life Community Church. She offers spiritual direction (trained through SoulStream), co-facilitates Living from the Heart (Lower Mainland), and writes—mostly for her blog, An Everyday Pilgrim. She and Fred enjoy cycling and hanging out with their grandchildren. Esther is the partner representative for Living from the Heart.


Jutta Shaw* took early retirement after working for the federal government for over 20 years. She studied political science and economics and has a Master’s degree in public policy. Jutta was born in Simmern, Germany, but has lived most of her life in Calgary. Calgary is located on Treaty 7 land, the traditional territory of the Nitsatapi, Tsuu T’ina and Stoney Nakoda Nations, and part of Metis Region 3.

She had the great blessing of being a member of Barnabas Christian Fellowship, where Jeff Imbach, one of the founders of SoulStream, was the pastor. At Barnabas, Jutta learned about contemplative life and living in community. Her passion for God was renewed when she took Living from the Heart in 2014-15 and the Art of Spiritual Direction from 2018-20.

Jutta doesn’t feel like she is retired and is excited about leading SoulStream’s Contemplative Response to the World Initiative. She has a teen-aged daughter at home who is a creative force. Jutta loves animals and nature and enjoys hiking, running, reading, being with friends and pursuing social justice.


Karen Webber* is the partner representative for SoulStream’s Spiritual Direction Initiative. Karen’s desire to live with an open heart before God has been shaped by her life experiences including a career in dietetics, involvement in her church community, being the parent of two adult children, along with husband Doug, and her love of the outdoors. She trained as a spiritual director with SoulStream.


**Denotes Employee | *Denotes Volunteer

SoulStream Board of Directors

John Alexis* is a member of the Okanagan (Sylix) First Nation. His Sylix name is Imtil. He is married to Kim and they have four grown children and three grandchildren. They have sort of adopted a fourth grandchild. John likes woodworking and has built a number of furniture pieces. He cycles when he has time and enjoys walking. John and Kim have walked the Camino de Santiago as well as the Way of St. Francis in Italy and The Le Puy route in France. He enjoys camping when he has time. He also enjoys reading. John and Kim completed the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises in Malta a few years ago as part of their spiritual journey. John enjoys visiting new patios when the sun is out. He has found that he loves Belgian beer and is always on the lookout for places that have it. There never seems to be enough time for all John enjoys. He is also a handyman where he lives in Vancouver doing small repairs. John graduated from Trinity Western University and completed a diploma in Environmental Toxicology at SFU. He is retired from work with the government and now enjoys life in other ways, with family and friends and activities that interest him.


Cat Anderson

Cat Anderson* lives as a settler on SḴŦAḴ (Mayne Island, BC) and respectfully acknowledges the island as part of the unceded, ancestral, and traditional territories of the WSANEC, part of the Coast Salish peoples. Connecting to the natural world is a big part of her spiritual practise; she finds hiking the forested trails by the water’s edge around her and her husband’s home lifegiving. Longing to deepen her contemplative life, in 2016, Cat began to look for courses she could find that would expand and support her journey into God and self. An internet search led her to the SoulStream website and what she read resonated with love and truth. She registered for LFTH then subsequently, ASD, and upon completion, joined SoulStream in partnership in 2020.

Cat names two beautifully unexpected gifts when she began LFTH. The first was receiving spiritual direction, and the second was connection to the SoulStream community. The accompaniment of other contemplatives has enriched her life immensely. Cat enjoys both the quiet spaces of meditation, reading and writing, and the ruckus of family visits to their island home. She is a partner in REACH Trauma Response Consulting where she is privileged to provide End-of-Life-Care, and Critical Incident Stress Management and Spiritual Direction.


Helen Barry* has lived in Calgary most of the time since she moved to Canada from Ireland in 1993. Helen came here to live in the L’ARCHE community. She heard about SoulStream first from Jeff Imbach and over the years her desire to live in a more contemplative way has grown and taken root. SoulStream has supported her in this journey. Helen has a heart for marginalized people and she embodies this by working with people with disabilities. She also offers spiritual direction which she really enjoys.


Anne-Marie Funk* lives in the beautiful northern community of Dawson Creek, British Columbia. Her home and her heart have always been open to anyone needing a place to live or a space to breathe. She has always offered love and answers to help the people who entered her doors. And then, it seemed quite suddenly, all her carefully crafted answers didn’t seem to work anymore. She entered a stressful and scary transition time. Her daughter introduced her to SoulStream in 2012 and Anne-Marie enrolled in Living from the Heart that Fall. Learning to live the contemplative life has been a rich experience for Anne-Marie and she loves being part of SoulStream’s diverse and inclusive community. As a Board Member, she looks forward to deepening some of those relationships and becoming more involved with the community as a whole.

Anne-Marie has 5 children, 1 adopted and 1 fostered. She is semi-retired and enjoys the antics and adventures of her many grandchildren! She lost her husband of 37 years in 2016, and so life continues to unfold and it is with gratitude that she is once more able to say, “Life is good.”


Lindi Lewis

Lindi Lewis* has been a contemplative for many years and came into the SoulStream community in 2017 when she took LFTH.  Becoming a partner in 2018, she is delighted to be a part of this diverse and interesting community.   It’s been a joy to meet others who have had similar journeys inside and outside of church, and her love for the Trinity, the gospels, poetry, nature, and the outdoors has blossomed and grown because of these encounters in a safe environment.

Lindi is happy learning to be a Board Member, feeling privileged to serve this community in ways that will doubtless emerge.  Previously employed as a high school teacher, she is content in retirement and loves reading, knitting, travel, learning languages, kayaking, savouring good foods and beverages, engaging in significant conversations, dancing, and she wants to be learning till the day she leaves this planet!


Laurie McGillivray* has lived roughly half of her life in Manitoba and half her life in the lower mainland of BC. She was introduced to SoulStream and the contemplative life through Steve Imbach and the courses that are now known as Living from the Heart and the Art of Spiritual Direction. She became a partner in 2009 and served on the first Board of SoulStream.

Laurie has long been drawn to the spiritual journey and has been shaped by a variety of experiences within church and community. Taking time to savour and to tune in to the still small voice and invitations of God is a longing that has found a home and encouragement within the contemplative path.

Laurie currently continues to work as a counsellor in private practise, as well as in the school system and teaches in the counselling program at City University. She also does spiritual direction and is moving more toward working with healing and the spiritual journey. She loves being outdoors no matter what the weather and enjoys sharing dinner and conversation with friends and family. She is bilingual in cat and dog but currently has 2 cats.


Sue McKerracher* lives in beautiful Victoria, BC, where she worked as a high school outdoor education and world religions teacher for 30 years. In 2016, Sue was introduced to contemplative living and to the community of SoulStream – they were both a beautiful answer to her growing longing for a deeper, more holistic, and inclusive spirituality. She has completed both Living from the Heart and Art of Spiritual Direction and became a SoulStream partner in 2020.

Sue currently works as a high school counsellor and spiritual director. When she is not working, she loves to join her friends on motorcycle adventures, cycling trips, and wilderness backpacking excursions. She also delights in spending time with her dogs, working in her garden, and backyard patio parties with family and friends.


Maureen Miller

Maureen Miller* lives and plays in the Okanagan Valley. Making Kelowna her home, she raised her children, served in her home church leading women’s ministry, formation groups and served as an elder.  She also had a most satisfying career as a laboratory technologist, for over 30 years until she noticed a restlessness that was not going away. She first heard of spiritual direction and SoulStream in 2004 while on a retreat. This sparked a curiosity in response to the restlessness and longing to know God in a deeper, contemplative way. Maureen went on to take Living From the Heart and Art of Spiritual Direction graduating in May 2014, when she also came on staff at her home church as Pastor of Spiritual Formation. 

That same year Maureen became a SoulStream Partner and has served on the Leadership team as Continuing Spiritual Formation Initiative leader. She has co-facilitated SoulStream retreats and currently co-facilitates Living From the Heart.

SoulStream has and continues to provide a safe community and container for her as her own faith evolves. While on the board, Maureen hopes to hold SoulStream and its community with the same generosity while it continues to grow and evolve.

Maureen and her husband Don, have three grandchildren, to which they answer “Gammy and Gup.” Maureen likes to say she is semi-retired as she offers retreats, spiritual direction and peer supervision. She is curious, loves to learn and is grateful for Zoom with its ability to meet and broaden those to learn from. She likes to muck about on a canvas and on a sailboat. Having to retire her motorcycle days, sailing still offers the thrill and feel of the wind on her face. 


Brent Unrau* lives in intentional community on Kingfisher Farm in South Surrey, B.C. (https://www.kingfisherfarmmarket.com/) and discovered the richness of the contemplative journey through SoulStream back in 2010. He presently divides his vocational focus as a therapist with www.cascadechristiancounselling.com, a spiritual director and owner- operator of a small art company called Pastiche Art (Instagram: pasticheartbc)  He has also recently joined the team of facilitators with the Living from the Heart course. In his free time he can be found taking in a moving play or thought provoking film, reading poetry (and on occasion memorizing and sharing it) drinking in a stimulating podcast, playing with his amazing grand-daughter or going for a good hike or a cultural adventure with his wife of 39 years. He has two wonderful adult children, two amazing, growing grandchildren (5 and 2) and one sweet son-law who keeps him stocked with a year around supply of homemade limoncello.


Kathleen Wiens* has lived her entire life in Chilliwack, BC. She was introduced to SoulStream and the contemplative life by Brian Klassen. She completed SoulStream’s Living from the Heart in 2010 and the Art of Spiritual Direction in 2016, and has recently accepted the invitation to join the Board of Directors.

Her years as a hospice volunteer and her desire to share God’s love and compassion with others have enhanced Kathleen’s vocation as a full-time Probate/Estate paralegal for a Fraser Valley law firm. She is grateful for the opportunity to assist and companion those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. Kathleen also values her participation in prayer ministry at her parish of St. Dunstan’s Anglican Church.

Kathleen loves hiking the forest trails near her home, and surrounding herself by nature’s beauty. She enjoys reading, attending SoulStream retreats and workshops, spending time with family, and travelling, and she cherishes her relationships with close friends. Her deepest desire is that others would find in her a safe shelter of God’s love.


*Denotes Volunteer