From the Principal – Celebrating Diakonia

Christ is risen! Alleluia!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

As a student in England in the mid seventies, I lived in an ecumenical Christian community run by the Russian Orthodox chaplaincy. It gave me the opportunity to attend the Divine Liturgy on Sundays, to sing occasionally in the choir (alternating services in Slavonic, Greek, and English) and to participate in ecumenical dialogue with other Orthodox and Anglican students.

From those two years of sharing worship, song and prayer with that community, I took away a couple of strong images that have stayed with me ever since – of the deacon as a vital figure in the liturgy and ministry of the Church, and of the solemn joy of the resurrection, proclaimed weekly in the Divine Liturgy and with special exuberance at Easter. Christos voskresye! Voisimos voskresye! (don’t know how to transcribe in English!)

It was therefore doubly delightful to have CCS host a retreat last Friday on these two favourite themes: diakonia and Resurrection (see below). More than 30 people came to Woodsworth House to share in worship, music, fellowship, quiet reflection and learning. With dedication and creativity, our staff designed and set up stations throughout the house, prepared and served lunch and refreshments, and ensured that all the parts were running smoothly.

The day was a high point for me since taking on the office of Principal (which was, in fact, offered to me a year ago on April 13!) It was a moment of opening the doors of this school to the community, of sharing the treasures we have learned about Jesus’ understanding of leading, teaching, and serving, and of simple celebration of faith, hope, and hospitality.

The Centre for Christian Studies is a wonderful place to work, to learn, and to be. I am proud and grateful to be part of it.