All About You – Dave Robinson
Dave Robinson is a former CCS student and a member of the CCS Communications and Promotions Committee. He currently lives in Toronto with his spouse and daughter, working as Director of Congregational Development for the Diocese of Toronto.
In Dave’s Words:
“In September of 1985 I walked in the doors of the old CCS on Charles Street in Toronto as a passionate, if somewhat inexperienced, lay person with a passion for politics and youth ministry. In June of ’87 I walked out those doors with more confidence, somewhat bewildered but still passionate about politics and youth ministry and fully intending to come back and finish up a few things to complete my diploma as a Youth Ministry Specialist through CCS and the National Youth Ministry Unit of the Anglican Church. Somehow I never made it back……
I continued working at my 2nd year field placement at Davenport-Perth Neighborhood Centre through the summer but was persuaded to apply for the position of Youth Worker at Flemingdon Park Ministry in the Don Mills and Eglinton area of Toronto. Much to my surprise I was offered the job and instead of being back on Charles Street I found myself immersed in community ministry in the most multi-cultural square-mile on the planet. It was a 3-year crash course in humility where the skills of reflection and analysis I had acquired were stretched to the max. In 1990 the community was impacted by crack cocaine, a brand-new street drug that completely re-wrote the social matrix of the community in 3 months. One of the casualties of this was me. On the verge of burnout, as the only youth worker in the community with no resources to deal with the new reality, I was offered the position of Consultant in Youth Ministry at the Diocese of Toronto…. It was a life-ring that I grabbed.
The seven years I spent in this position were awesome. I got to use my training and develop my skills as an educator, facilitator and consultant. The department I worked in was a team of life-long learners who had intentionally hired young, creative staff and mentored and encouraged us to develop our gifts in a praxis-based learning organization. We had a good con-ed plan and we were strongly encouraged to diversify and expand our skills and to read and consult broadly. When I transitioned out of Youth Ministry in ’97 I took up a position in Congregational Development, helping parishes across the diocese to grow and thrive.
My present ministry title is Director of Congregational Development where I function as team leader and coach to a group of 5 staff and 35 high-judgment volunteers deployed across our Diocese consisting of about 220 parishes. Our focus is on building healthy, vital missional communities of hope and compassion. We have become international leaders in the implementation of Natural Church Development, pastoral transitions and mission-shaped congregational ministry. We are intensely engaged in experiments in Fresh Expressions of Church, trying to learn how God is calling us to be the Body of Christ in our neighborhoods.
It was somewhat stunning to realize that it’s been almost 25 years since I walked out of 77 Charles St., fully intending to come back and finish things up…. In many ways it feels like the work has been an extended field placement, I’m still learning, reflecting, experimenting, the spiral is hard-wired into all of us when we leave. It’s been great to give back a little bit recently since being recruited on to the communications committee. I’m looking forward to the 120th celebrations this fall and hope to see a bunch of old friends and to learn where you seeking has taken you. Maybe I should have a conversation with Maylanne about finishing up a few things…..”