Our Philosophy


Programs at Five Oaks inspire connection to Spirit, to Self, to Each Other and to Nature....

.....while attending to the physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual.

Programs and Retreats at Five Oaks are guided by the following values:


Embodiment: In order to connect with ourselves we must begin with our own bodies. Spirituality is that which makes us feel fully alive – and this sense of ‘aliveness’ is embodied. We seek to connect body, mind and soul to foster wholeness and integration.


Listening: We seek to listen within ourselves and to each other to encourage a deeper connection and understanding. We listen within ourselves to our ‘inner teacher’ for the wisdom that resides in our lived experience to foster awareness and reflection. Through these practices we grow in compassion and promote peace in the world. 


Presence: Programs will invite participants to be present as fully as possible in every moment, mindful of the gift of each moment. A spiritual director/companion will accompany program participants to be the vision keeper for Five Oaks’ values and to reflect on shared experiences of ‘connection’.


A New Cosmology: We understand that our existence is deeply intertwined with the evolving web of life. As Chief Seattle says: “Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” We also seek to live out the First Nations teaching of ‘all my relations’ which affirms that we are all connected. At Five Oaks we seek to live out these teachings and come to a deeper awareness of our interconnection with the ecosystem as well as nurture well-being by encouraging connection with nature. 


Beloved Community: Programs are rooted in an understanding that Jesus modeled a way that was radically inclusive of all people – breaking down barriers and promoting reconciliation. We seek to ensure that all are included and able to be fully themselves. We sit in circle to symbolize that all people are equal and that we value the wisdom that arises from being in circle together. We seek to understand each other, learn from each other and shape each other. At the beginning of every program we build community and create covenant together in order to nurture a safe environment where transformation is made possible. (The term ‘beloved community’ is from an early 20th century theologian, later adopted by Martin Luther King Jr.) 


Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples: We do this by acknowledging the First Nations Territory in which we are situated. We take care of the land and resources. We learn about First Nations (particularity Haudenosaunee) culture and history. We share First Nations spirituality and teachings as appropriate ways to deepen appreciation and respect. We reflect on the legacy of colonialism and seek to deconstruct the ways of the dominant white culture that continues to marginalize First Nations people. As the Song of Faith states “We can discover our place as one strand in the web of life. We can grow in wisdom and compassion. We can recognize all people as kin.” 


Divine Mystery: We are mindful of the wide variety of expressions of the Divine that exist. We remember that in many religious traditions the name of God is not spoken. During Five Oaks programs many different expressions of the Divine will be explored and honoured and not one particular metaphor or name for the Divine will be used. In this way “we witness to Holy Mystery who is Wholly Love.” (from the Song of Faith


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1 Bethel Road, RR3 Paris ON, N3L3E3 • T: 519-442-3212 • F: 519-442-3444 • E: hospitality@fiveoaks.on.ca