Salvationist Podcast

Glenn van Gulik, Director for Public Relations for Eastern Ontario

June 03, 2020 Salvationist.ca Season 1 Episode 5
Salvationist Podcast
Glenn van Gulik, Director for Public Relations for Eastern Ontario
Chapters
Salvationist Podcast
Glenn van Gulik, Director for Public Relations for Eastern Ontario
Jun 03, 2020 Season 1 Episode 5
Salvationist.ca

Glenn van Gulik is a dedicated leader and strategic thinker. He currently is the Director for Public Relations for Eastern Ontario for The Salvation Army, based out of Ottawa.

Show Notes Transcript

Glenn van Gulik is a dedicated leader and strategic thinker. He currently is the Director for Public Relations for Eastern Ontario for The Salvation Army, based out of Ottawa.

Brandon
My name is Brandon Laird and you are listening to a Salvationist.ca podcast stories and news from the Salvation Army Canada and Bermuda territory. Welcome to the Salvationist COVID-19 response podcast, a series where we talked about how the Salvation Army has responded to the COVID-19 crisis. Today I have the opportunity of talking with Glenn van Gulik. Glenn is a dedicated leader and strategic thinker. He currently is the director for public relations for Eastern Ontario for the Salvation Army based out of Ottawa. Hello Glenn and thank you for coming on our call today.

Glenn
How are ya doing Brandon?

Brandon
Great. And it's so good to see you and hear you at the same time.

Glenn
Likewise. It's been a while since we've been able to connect like this it's awesome.

Brandon
Well we have some questions for you today because you're at the front lines and people are curious on what's happening. So the first question I have for you is, how did the Salvation Army spring into action when COVID-19 hit?

Glenn
Well I think you know what's interesting that's, that's a really good word. I think springing into action is exactly what the Army did. You know certainly around the country, but specifically in Eastern Ontario, the Salvation Army ministry units the leadership at the ministry level is phenomenal. We are blessed, God has blessed us with great leaders in each of our ministry units our corps our social service units and they did just that. They sprung into action, they were looking for ways where they could adjust, ways where they could make a difference despite all the challenges that COVID-19 brought, they were able to jump in and adjust what they were doing so that they could continue to meet the needs of the people that they serve whether that's in the corps setting or whether that's going to social services setting, you know, maybe it's an emergency shelter where they had to adjust how they do street outreach teams, maybe it's in a young parent family centre where they are having to adjust how they engage in education or supporting the families or helping with food hampers, maybe it's at the corps level with it's that Community Family Services that we've become so accustomed to looking a certain way and quite honestly adjusting and pivoting and changing it, evolving into something that was relevant in response to COVID-19 but also relevant to the people that we serve. They're looking for hope, right? And that's a brand promise that we've had here in Canada for a very long time and so when we say giving hope today that's really what it has to be. It has to be today and it has to be hope that we can provide and that's done in that same one to one relationship whether COVID-19 is at the crux of it now or whether it's down the road. So they've done a tremendous job. We've got great leadership and great volunteers that are continuing every day to serve in their ministry and it's quite honestly served through the Salvation Army.

Brandon
So encouraging to hear Glenn. What are some challenges you are facing and how is the Army overcoming them?

Glenn
Well you know as I was just saying you know of course changing how you do things is always a challenge. Change is often a word that people shy away from. They get nervous about change is sometimes looked at something that is not good not positive, but I think in this case what we saw is that change turning into something positive as we were exploring how we could continue to serve. And so, I think that challenge, that great challenge that we all faced, certainly that the Army faced, was how do we change and how do we evolve in order to continue to serve people. You know I look at a couple of the ministry units in the East region, I think about Oshawa for example Lee Roni, the director for community and family services there and his team changing how they were doing Community Family Services through food hampers. They decided to take advantage of the Emergency Disaster Services canteen vehicle that they have in Oshawa and they set that up and they were getting all of the food hampers brought into the canteen so that they could distribute those food hampers out of the canteen and that just created that social distancing it created the environment where they could still engage people still have conversations with people but in a safe way without people having to come into the building. Which of course we hope that they will down the road when we see things and these restrictions lifted, but you know we knew that we needed to change how we did things and so that challenge was overcome by thinking differently. How can we use the tools that we have? I think about corps in Kingston for example who were trying to figure out, OK how do we how to take a Sunday morning service normal gathering of hundreds of people, how do we take Bible studies and engagements throughout the week and how do we change those and create an evolution of those to continue to serve and meet the needs of people every day in our congregations and so they've gone online you know you see Chad Ingram out in Kingston serving Christ and being a constant support a source of hope in some cases, those that might feel isolated,  but being able to engage in a different format online. I also know that you know in the Ottawa region we've got some of the volunteers that are normally visiting 27 long term care and retirement residences. Normally they'd be busying all of those residents but are unable to do that and so they are changing and evolving how they do things by picking up a phone sending an email connecting with the family in a different way. Ottawa Grace Manor changing how they're doing things each day to keep people safe to keep that staff encouraged but ultimately continuing to serve and overcoming those challenges is something that's done by changing how we think and we've done a great job.

Brandon
Thank you for that. I was going to ask you if you had any think encouraging stories to share and hearing those are sure those were really encouraging.

Glenn
Let me give you one more! I think about the Ottawa Grace Manor, the Salvation Army's long term care home in Ottawa, and one of the things early on that we realized, our public relations team here in Ottawa and Ottawa Grace Manor were working together on trying to find a way to allow the residents to connect with their families and friends. You know it's one of the things that we often think about when we're doing visitation, the importance of that social engagement that one on one time that relational piece, but when you're locked down and you're not able to have visitors in a long-term care home and the residents are feeling disconnected from family, it was one of the things that we were looking at with the team at Ottawa grace Manor and executive director there Cam McCallum, trying to figure out how could we adjust how could we do something different to overcome that challenge of disconnection. And so, what we did is, actually Heather in our office decided to take a look at a couple of online video conferencing apps. We've heard of zoom and we've heard of FaceTime and some of these other tools, we found a tool called Whereby, but we actually set up five different iPads in Grace Manor where the residents are able to have a private one-on-one or maybe it's three or four family members, able to do a video conferencing session and the PSW's there have been so supportive helping facilitate this on the ground but it's really created a great connection and we've gotten some great feedback from those family members, so appreciative of the new and evolving way of communicating with their family members. It's vitally important to take care of the physical health of each other, but it's also just so critical to take care of the mental health and the emotional well being and the spiritual well being of everyone as well and so that was a great way. You know, we saw many ministry units coming together, many people working together to come up with a solution that was ultimately going to really support some really lovely seniors at Ottawa Grace Manor.

Brandon
That was a great story about some of the partners that you're working within the local context there, Glenn. Where do you see the Salvation Army's mission and values guiding us during this pandemic?

Glenn
Well I think the mission and values guide us in every moment of every day you know quite honestly the decisions we make should be should be rooted in the corps values and the mission the Salvation Army has. You know, I think about that three-part component of our mission, you know, sharing the love of Jesus Christ, being a transforming influence in the communities of our world and meeting human need and those three need to coexist at every moment. And so, again you know as we as we look at how we are doing what we do it isn't about just handing out food. It isn't about just serving someone a meal or meeting an immediate need. There needs to be more there. There's a reason why we do what we do. Our employees, our staff, our volunteers, our leadership, are all committed to doing what they do every day for that very reason. And when the door is opened, when an opportunity presents itself we need to be ready to step forward into that and trust that Christ is at the centre of that moment, that others are praying fervently for those moments to exist and that we're able to lean on Christ and lean on the love that he has for us and for the individuals that we serve so that when we do serve them, that when we do say the words that they need to hear that they are said in such a way that is rooted in that mission of the Army, those core values of the Army. You know, we've got a very very important role to play in this world. We've been called by Christ to be a Salvation Army and we do that at the very best of days when we are all working together following that same mission and the same core values. It's tremendous, it's wonderful to be apart of you know. A Salvationist, I'm a Salvationist at the Barrhaven church but we've got you know adherents and friends of the Army that in this time of crisis all rally together, all rally together because they know that at the end of the day the Army is an Army that people need. Everyone needs an army is that slogan that we've been hearing and quite honestly it's true. It's so true, now more than ever.

Brandon
So good Glenn, so good, thank you for sharing. Do you have a message for our listeners on how they can help?

Glenn
Well, I would stay number one pray. If you are a listener, if you're a Salvationist, a member of one of our corps or maybe you attend another church, I would say number one pray. Pray for God's presence in every moment pray for God's guidance as we look to where he would want us to go in the future. But pray that God is at the centre of what we continue to do. Secondly, find a way to get involved and you know sometimes people might feel like you know I don't know what I can do or other people are doing things that I can't do. But you know we all have some way to contribute and you know whether that's prayer, whether that's giving maybe it's donating to the Salvation Army's efforts, the Salvation army's work, maybe it's connecting with your local Salvation Army ministry unit and saying listen I have hands and I have feet and I want to serve how can I support what you're doing. I can think of so many ministry unit leaders that would immediately pick up that phone and find an opportunity for people to serve. This is a big Army. This is a great Army that Christ has created and I believe that everybody has an opportunity to serve in that Army. So you know whether it's a Salvationist a friend an adherent, whomever it might be there is a place for you in this Army. There is a place where you can be the Army to someone else. Connecting with your local Salvation Army ministry unit is the very best way that you can do that, but I would say number one take some time and pray.

Brandon
Those are some incredible stories. Thank you for sharing with us Glenn. Thanks for that reminder on how we should be in prayer seeking to be serving in God's army. Thanks for listening to the Salvationist COVID response podcast. For new episodes be sure to visit salvationist.ca/podcast. For more Army news visit salvationist.ca and if you would like to get the news delivered directly to your inbox sign up for the weekly newsletter at salvationist.ca/newsletter.