Trinity United Church believes a community that talks together stays together

Transforming is a constant in life; more so, it seems, in these past months as we face changes on a more frequent and impactful basis. It’s important to focus on the uplifting ways we can come together. Transformative Upbeat Conversations (or TUC Talks), inspired by the ever-popular TED Talks, are bringing together local talents in our community and creating some pretty cool conversations.


Neil Stephen, the founder of This Is Marketing, says “TUC Talks are for the thoughtful, open-minded, and intellectually curious person who enjoys learning about and considering perspectives other than their own. TUC Talks are for everyone but those who approach them with a desire to be surprised and enlightened tend to get the best experience.”


Trinity United Church reached out to Stephen to develop a marketing plan for the church. This marketing initiative led to the development of Trinity’s new slogan “Have a Little Faith” and has evolved into a website address for the church www.havealittlefaith.ca. This statement makes two promises: faith is a part of what we do here and faith isn’t all we do here.


Lynne Sheridan, the recent chair of the committee, says this slogan fits as the events are “a liberal interpretation of all things biblical.” She explains that their mission goes well beyond an organized religion many attribute to a church, and reaches the community to deliver many programs to support groups or individuals in need.


Both Sheridan and Stephen are part of the team that contributes to the growing success within the building, the community of New Glasgow, and beyond.


“I was very humbled to be asked to speak. Pictou County is such a complex community of passionate advocates who are engaged and vocal. To be involved in TUC Talks is a treat because of the group of organizers and their passion,” Stephen says. “On a professional level, it means a lot to have the chance to explore in detail an area that I believe is very important to everyone’s future. To be part of TUC Talk is to have a hand in opening new ways of thinking and perspectives that can further the conversation around how to build a stronger and more resilient Pictou County.”


Sheridan, typically a non-church goer, has been a part of the Trinity United Church for about three years and attributes not only Donna Tourneur, the minister, but everyone involved. It became obvious to her that the value the collective was adding and the difference they were making in their variety of outreach programs was more about improving the community and spreading kindness than sitting in a pew every week.
In the past, TUC Talks enlisted Danny Graham of Engage Nova Scotia to talk about his work to create a more vibrant, inclusive, and resilient province; Doctor Aaron Smith, Medical Executive Director Northern Zone; and Nicole LeBlanc, Project Navigator Healthy Pictou County spoke about the realities of delivering health care; and the new Executive Director of Music Nova Scotia shared her perspective on supporting musical artists during COVID. Future talks will invite members of the Coady Institute to discuss affordable housing; a representative from Divert Nova Scotia will speak to the myths and progress in the recycling industry; and two clients from Summer Street Industries, who will speak on living with intellectual disabilities within our community. The discussion about health care drew approximately 250 community members to the talk, highlighting the appeal of education and change for our health as a collective.


These upbeat conversations intend to create awareness, educate, and modify attitudes with the hope of changing behaviours not only with the people who attend the talks, or listen to them later, but to create solutions and unite those contributing to them. TUC Talks has proven that great things come out of great conversations and, with more than 20 outreach programs affiliated with Trinity United Church, this one hopes to welcome all ages and interests to its doors.


If you are looking to speak, or have an idea of something our community will value, the group is always looking to hear from the community. Stephen says, “My tip would be to focus on the general public as your audience and explore your topic in a way that makes sense to everyone, not those ‘in the know’ about it. For my TUC Talk, I kept things at a very high level so that anyone watching would have the space and comfort level to learn and be intrigued without (hopefully) being overwhelmed.”


While not always having a weighty topic, the group does not shy away from any subject that is important to one or many.


The TUC Talks are not just a discussion about a problem: rather they are a discussion between members of the community in a safe setting with leaders who can consider and enable solutions. This is the upbeat aspect of the talks; the influence of anyone interested in attending, online or in person. At each session there is ample time for questions, always keeping in mind that it’s not just a presentation, it’s a conversation.
Now, more than ever, our community and the world beyond us need uplifting and upbeat conversations on things that matter to all of us.

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Sarah Butland has been embracing change and local talents while staying at home and will continue to celebrate the brilliance and wonder of Pictou County throughout the summer months. With books by local authors, beaches and trails in our own backyards, and the people who bring joy and laughter virtually, there really is no place like home.