Ann Mortifee performs at the Bethlehem Alive 2018 Gala Fundraiser at the Bethlehem Centre on Saturday, June 23. (Photo courtesy Kris Krug)

Ann Mortifee performs at the Bethlehem Alive 2018 Gala Fundraiser at the Bethlehem Centre on Saturday, June 23. (Photo courtesy Kris Krug)

Musician and writer Ann Mortifee performs in Nanaimo

Organizers hope to raise $10,000 to support spiritual and faith-based programming

Ann Mortifee says she hopes to inspire when she performs at Nanaimo’s Bethlehem Centre on June 23.

The renowned Vancouver-based singer, songwriter, actor, playwright, activist and caregiver will read excerpts from her written work and perform songs at the non-denominational spiritual retreat centre’s fourth annual Bethlehem Alive gala fundraiser.

The dinner is the centre’s chief fundraising event. Bethlehem Centre executive director Kathleen Darby said the group hopes to match last year’s sum of $10,000 raised to support spiritual and faith-based programming.

Mortifee said she’s spent time at the Bethlehem Centre in the past and that retreat centres serve a needed purpose. Her interest in spirituality led her from Zulu shamans of her native South Africa to Mother Teresa.

“There are not enough places you can go to reflect and be still and pull out of your life for a few days and I think it’s so important. It certainly has been for me over the years,” she said.

“And the busier your life is the more important it becomes to take time to reflect on who you are, what’s happening in your life now, what’s important and so I like to support anything that tries to keep that alive for people.

Mortifee will be sharing stories of places and experiences that have shaped her life. The presentation will lean on the spiritual side.

“It’ll be about the spiritual things that have been meaningful in my life and that have led me to the deeper sense of what life is – not that I know,” she said.

“The spiritual search has been the central theme of my life from when I was very young in Africa and so I’ve passed through many phases of that and grown and I’ll be sharing some of that.”

Darby said Mortifee is an appropriate guest as she is known for her travels and work across spiritual communities.

“We’re all on some kind of spiritual path and that’s the way Ann presents her spirituality is it’s very broad and open, which is the mandate and mission of the Bethlehem Centre. To be available to anyone who’s on any spiritual path.”

Mortifee said her performance will unfold naturally, rather than adhering to an unalterable script.

“It’s not that I necessarily hope for anything specific, but just that I can connect in myself and share what wants to be shared at that moment and of course I never know what that will be,” she said.

“I’ve found over the years that if I plan too much I often can miss the impulse of the moment.”

WHAT’S ON … Bethlehem Alive 2018 Gala Fundraiser featuring Ann Mortifee at the Bethlehem Centre on Saturday, June 23 at 5 p.m. Tickets range from $65 to $125. Available at or 250-754-3254.

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