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New Glasgow church hosting its own version of TED talks

Donna Tourneur and Tom Disney are looking forward to the first TUC talk, which will be held at Trinity United Church’s multipurpose room on Thursday.
Donna Tourneur and Tom Disney are looking forward to the first TUC talk, which will be held at Trinity United Church’s multipurpose room on Thursday. - Adam MacInnis


A New Glasgow church is hoping to start a spark in their community by hosting a speaking series inspired by the YouTube successful TED Talks.

The acronym TUC is used for Trinity United Church but will take on new meaning for the speaking series TUC, which stands for Transformative Upbeat Conversations. Trinity United pastor Donna Tourneur said TUC talks will focus on strengthening community and making connections for positive change.

The idea for this series generated from about a year ago she said when the church decided to intentionally think about what their purpose was.

“Churches are changing and it seems like we’re both trying to maintain the old structures and reinvent ourselves in a way,” she said. “It seemed to us through this process of activity, reflection, conversation, reading we came up with several areas we wanted to work on. One of them was connecting with the community in a broader way.”

Trinity sees the TUC talks as a way to stimulate conversation, potentially creating some spark for change in the community.

Tourneur stresses that these talks are not religious in nature and will be held in the multipurpose room of the church instead of the sanctuary.

“We’re not pushing an agenda. We’re opening a conversation,” she said. “It’s for any faith or no faith. It’s about building a stronger community.”

The speakers will bring their success in leadership, their passion for community and their belief that together we have what it takes for better living.

By hosting these free gatherings, Trinity hopes to stimulate leaders for change and to become more aware of the good things being done all around us, she said.

The TUC talks will last for about an hour with 20 minutes for theme presentation, 20 minutes of engagement, and 20 minutes for socializing.

Tom Disney, who is helping organize the talks, said their goal is to do one a month for about six months and they’re working on a list of speakers to have in with several strong leads.

We don’t where it’s going to go but we hope it’ll be a spark,” he said.

The speakers they are hoping to have are people who are good at entertaining and will provide an upbeat and positive message he said.

The first one will be held on Thursday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m. with Jaime Smith as the first presenter.

A founding member of Pictou County 2020, a citizen-led participatory leadership process, and inaugural executive lead of the Centre for Employment Innovation at the StFX Extension Department, Smith practises meaningful community engagement for positive social and economic change. Smith is an active volunteer and currently sits as a board director for Engage NS, as well as the Nova Scotia Health Authority, where she chairs the Public Engagement Committee. Smith is curious about leading in shifting environments, as well as the merging of artful, person-centred engagement processes with structured planning and public participation methods for more impactful outcomes. Smith is currently enrolled in the MAdEd (Community Development) program at St. Francis Xavier University, she holds a BDes (Honours in Planning) from the Nova Scotia College and Art and Design, and a BA (Environmental Studies) from Mount Allison University. She, her husband Aaron, and their three boys live in New Glasgow.

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