Local Pastor Evan Dewald is excited to announce his latest project, the Unpacked podcast, where conversations with spiritual directors and counsellors focusing on self-care and their experiences of being human are featured.
“It explores soul care and the strength that comes from big messy failures and vulnerable moments that help us on the journey of living authentically,” Dewald said.
Dewald and his team had talked about starting a podcast and were inspired to ensure the community remained connected throughout the pandemic.
The team had to adjust their focus, as they couldn’t be physically present in the community due to COVID-19.
“When we were hearing from community leaders and seeing mental health on the rise in our city, we sensed a need for a place to share the message of self-care and soul care through the lens of storytelling and relatable experiences,” Dewald said.
Adding, “Our hope is to help people to experience a desire for growth and connect them to resources like counsellors, spiritual directors, and tools we were learning about.”
From Unpacked, listeners can expect a weekly podcast that alternates between locals and guests from across Canada, with Dewald sharing learnings and stories from his life and discussions with the Lake Ridge Community Church Ministry Support Leader, Tara Linsley on various topics.
“We called it Unpacked so it could be wide open to whatever we wanted to discuss to explore the messiness of life,” Dewald said.
“We interview guests on specific topics like counselling areas such as addiction or trauma and we talk to real-life people who share their life stories and lessons along the way,” he added. “We are also big on laughter and bringing light to some of the heavier topics.”
Since launching Unpacked, the community has been receptive and excited for new weekly episodes.
Dewald and Linsley are hearing more stories of people accessing help in counselling, spiritual care, and exploring self-awareness tools while encouraging conversation and opportunities to highlight community leaders.
“Unpacked is not just meant to serve the church. It does have a faith component to what we talk about it but really we are interested in hearing people’s stories and have found people connect with that,” Dewald said.
Dewald and Linsley have continued to receive feedback from listeners that Unpacked is motivating for listeners seeking help and exploring the difficult parts of their own lives.
“It’s exciting to us when we hear someone heard our podcast and is seeking help from a professional and connecting to the stories in some way,” Dewald said.
Linsley and Dewald’s goal for Unpacked is to provide a space to elevate the voices in the community and across the country by sharing learnings, stories, and the messiness of life, so listeners can see themselves in the stories and develop the knowledge and sense to grow.
“That might look like seeking counselling or spiritual work or finding the freedom to be their authentic selves at home, work, and in our city,” Dewald said.
For Linsley and Dewald, having the opportunity to listen to the authentic stories of the guests has been a highlight throughout the process of creating the podcast.
“If one person listens and because of the stories we share they sense the need for help and they are a little more brave to seek it out we have done our job in caring for our city well,” Dewald said.
Adding, “The podcast has been life-giving and highly creative for us as partners and has given us the chance to try new things this year that might not have happened if not for the pandemic.”
Unpacked is available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
For more information, or to get involved, visit, unpackedpod.ca.