May 17, 2017

Former Youth Director to Lead Company Spiritual Program in Australia

Tracey Bridcutt, Adventist Record

Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing is enhancing its focus on the spiritual health of its 1,700 employees. The Seventh-day Adventist-owned healthy food company has appointed Gilbert Cangy, former world church youth director, to the newly created role of pastoral services manager, based at the Berkeley Vale, New South Wales, Australia head offices. One of his core responsibilities will be overseeing the work of newly appointed chaplains Elia Crevar in Australia and Keira Bullock in New Zealand.

“There are two keywords that are incorporated into the mission statement of Sanitarium—they are health and hope,” Cangy said. “And it is part of the brief of the chaplains and the pastoral services manager to look at health as a doorway to hope.”

Cangy, who was the Adventist Church’s world youth director for more than six years, has a wealth of experience in pastoral and youth ministry. He is now working on strategies to improve Sanitarium’s spiritual wellbeing initiatives, which include a daily morning reflection time known as Life Matters.

“There are two keywords that are incorporated in the mission statement of Sanitarium—they are health and hope.”

“There can be sometimes the perception that Life Matters is for Adventists or committed Christians, and one of my goals is to reimage it so that it becomes a ‘normal’ part of the culture of the Sanitarium,” Cangy said.

Cangy explained that their goal is to make the Life Matters moments more accessible.

“Many of the workers, particularly moms who drop their kids off at school, find that 8:15 am is not the most accessible time,” Cangy said. “As a trial, we held a week of Life Matters during an extended lunch time.” He told how people brought their lunch, as leaders provided some special treats and hot drinks as well as unplugged music. A presentation covering engaging topics led to open discussions around their tables.

“Our daily attendance more than doubled and what our people valued the most was the opportunity for community building,” Cangy said.

While Life Matters is a 15-minute daily event, the company also recognizes that the development of a person’s spirituality is pervasive and informs all aspects of life.

“We have another initiative we would like to further develop called Care Matters,” said Cangy. He explained that their hope is that the significant events in the lives of Sanitarium employees do not go unnoticed. “We trust they will not face the crossroads and challenges of life on their own,” he said. “We want to provide a safety net for them where they can experience support.”

Cangy also revealed that his team is looking to establishing a prayer network, Prayer Matters, at every company site. He said employees of Sanitarium know that when they join the company, there are certain values they embrace.

“They know it’s a church-owned organization and that in itself creates a platform for conversation about spirituality,” Cangy said. “There’s a place for greater awareness, providing some significant opportunities for pointing our people to the ultimate Hope.”