Sanctuary Ambassadors

Dr. Hillary McBride, Ph.D, Contributor on the Liturgists podcast, Sanctuary Ambassador

As Sanctuary's official ambassador, Hillary McBride not only consults but is someone we intentionally work with, and she is a Sanctuary representative in various national and international settings. Hillary is a registered clinical counsellor in private practice in Vancouver and has her Ph.D in Counselling Psychology from UBC. Her areas of clinical and research specialty focus on trauma, and trauma therapies, eating disorders, body image, sex and sexuality, embodiment, and the intersection of spirituality and mental health.  Hillary's work has been recognized by both the American and Canadian Psychological Associations, and she was recently awarded the International Young Investigator Award for her research contributions so early in her career. Her first book is Mothers, Daughters, and Body Image: Learning to Love Ourselves as We Are (Post Hill Press, 2017), and she is the editor of a textbook, Embodiment and Eating Disorders: Theory, Research, Prevention and Treatment (Routledge, 2018).

Hillary says:

I believe the mission of the church is to be the hands and feet of a loving God who longs for people to feel seen, known, cared for, and not alone. Although this includes those who are healthy, it also includes those who are suffering, struggling, hurting, and in pain, perhaps especially so. For too long, churches have been ill-equipped for this mission, particularly as it comes to people who struggle with mental health. I have a deep resonance with the work of Sanctuary because it is equipping the church to be what it was been meant to be all along - a place for healing and hope for all of us.

Rev. Dr. John Swinton, Ph.D, Chair in Divinity and Religious Studies, University of Aberdeen, Sanctuary Ambassador

John Swinton is the Chair in Divinity and Religious Studies at the School of Divinity, History, and Philosophy, University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Previously he worked for sixteen years as a registered mental health nurse, and spent several years as a hospital chaplain and community mental health chaplain. He is particularly interested in mental health issues both as they relate to the spiritual dimensions of care offered by religious communities as well as the spiritual care offered by established “secular” mental health services. He has published widely in the fields of disability theology, spirituality and health, and qualitative research and mental health. His book Dementia: Living in the memories of God won the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Ramsey Prize for excellence in theological writing in 2016. He is founder of the Centre for Spirituality, Health and Disability, where academics, researchers, practitioners, and educators collaborate in the development of innovative projects researching the theology of disability and the relationship between spirituality, health and healing, and contemporary healthcare practices. John is an ordained minister of Church of Scotland.

John says:

The psalmist informs us that God comes to bind the wounds of the brokenhearted (Psalm 147:3). There is a tremendous beauty in such a vision. The Church that forms itself around the resurrected Jesus is called to mirror God’s ministry of binding wounds and to become a place where the brokenhearted in all of their different forms, can find acceptance, love and belonging. Sanctuary Ministries reminds us of what such binding and healing actually looks like. The resources that Sanctuary offers are designed to enable Christ-like responses from the Church and to guide all of us, together, to fresh places of healing and community. It is a pleasure and an honour to be part of their ministry.