Join the Abbey

Interested in joining the Abbey?
Many people are curious about how they can get involved with the Sisters (and we welcome a very broad spectrum of genders, sexual orientations and religious/spiritual traditions). Some people just want to follow the work we do and come to our events. We welcome these folks to join our mailing list and follow us on Facebook to keep abreast of our antics. If you’re interested in working on a specific project with the Sisters, or inviting us to an event, please contact Sister Diversity Rains, our Reverend Mother.

If you think you might like to join the Abbey in a more formal way, we encourage you to follow these four steps:
1) Review this entire page on the process of joining the Abbey, the rest of the website and watch this PowerPoint slide show created by Sr. Sweet Cheribum.
2) Visit the websites of other Sisters around the globe to get a sense of the amazing work they do.
3) Attend our events and monthly general business meeting (2nd Wednesday of every month at Qmunity) to get to know the members of the Abbey.
4) Finally, if you’d like to proceed, state your intention to the Mistress of Novices (Sister Koo-Koo Kachoo, our Lady of Counsel) who oversees the introduction and progress of all persons interested in joining the Abbey.

Our Process
The Abbey of the Long Cedar Canoe Society has a lengthy screening and initiatory process for new members to help ensure they understand the culture of the Abbey, the ‘Sistory’ of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, have compatible motives and commitments to our philosophy, have the ability to be of service to others, and give them time to build trust with the communities we serve. We want a potential new member to have the time and experiences necessary to discern if their calling fits with the Abbey and the Sisters.

The Society’s membership is made of up Ministrants and Paladins.
Ministrants are members who are called to serve their community in a direct, "hands-on" fashion. This service manifests in a variety of ways, including (but not limited to) activism, charity, education, entertainment and ministry. There are as many different ways this calling expresses itself as there are Ministrants, but all Ministrants are bound to their fellow members, the Abbey, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and the community through their common vows to promulgate joy, expiate stigmatic guilt and serve the community.

Paladins are members of the organization who are called to serve the community in a less public, more indirect way. Often, their role within the Abbey places them "behind-the-scenes" where they provide support to the Ministrants and the Abbey. Although they do not interact with the community to the same degree as Ministrants, they are encouraged to be vocal and visible in the community when they deem it necessary and appropriate to do so. Like Ministrants, all Paladins are bound to their fellow members, The Abbey, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and the community through their common vows to promulgate joy, expiate stigmatic guilt and serve and protect the community and the members of the Abbey.

The Four Stages: Aspirants, Postulants, Novices and Fully Professed Members (FPM).
Aspirants
An individual starts the process by contacting the Mistress of Novices to state their intention to become formally involved with the Abbey. She will meet with the individual, often with another member of the Abbey and, if satisfied that the individual's goals, talents and aspirations are reasonably compatible with the Abby's, the Mistress of Novices will introduce the individual at a monthly membership meeting as a new Aspirant.

Aspirants are expected to attend at least two consecutive monthly membership meetings, stay in regular contact with the Mistress of Novices, and attend as many events of the Abbey as possible so that the Aspirant may get to know as many of the Members as possible and can observe the work of the Abbey. Once all of these requirements are met, the Aspirant may ask the Mistress of Novices to be brought before the membership for a vote to be elevated to Postulant.

Postulants
Postulants are probationary members. During this period they receive training (e.g. attire, behaviour, safety, self-defence, etc.) crucial to their development. Postulants are expected to attend all meetings and events of the Abbey and come join the Sisters when they manifest. They also work on their relationships with the FPMs and other Members of the Abbey. Postulancy lasts for a minimum of four months from the membership meeting where they were elevated to Postulant.

Once a person’s Postulancy has been accepted the Postulant and the Postulant’s supporting FPM conduct a grounding ritual in Stanley Park or some other appropriate location in Vancouver to ground this new member’s involvement in the Abbey in Vancouver. Postulants are expected attend all membership meetings, training sessions arranged by the Mistress of Novices, and at least four (4) events of the Abbey. They further they understanding of the Abbey and the 'sistory' of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. During a person's postulancy they will also decide on and declare to the Mistress of Novices their intended vocation (Ministrant or Paladin).

Novices
Novices take what was learned in their Postulancy and apply it to their newly acquired status. Once a Ministrant’s Novice status is accepted by the membership, the Novice will take ‘short vows’. Noviancy lasts for a minimum of six months from the GM meeting where the Member was elevated to Novice. Novices attend all membership meetings and at least six events. With the assistance of the Abbey, they assemble their Formal and Festive Attire, continue to learn about the Abbey and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. They will also plan and run an Official Event/Project.

Fully Professed Members
The Fully Professed Members (FPMs) decide the direction of the Abbey, determine the rules, and all important aspects of the organization. FPMs that meet the requirements in the bylaws to be Voting Member may vote on any issue at a membership meeting, may hold Office or be elected to the Board, may Chair committees and sponsor new Members. FPMs are Members for life.