As part of our ongoing “About You” series, in which members of the CCS community talk about their lives, their ministry, and their connection to the Centre in their own words, we bring you 2010 CCS grad Helen Reed. Helen is a member of the CCS Central Council, chairs the Communications and Promotions Committee, and serves on the Tapestry working group.
In Helen’s word’s…
“ I was born in the North of England, and at sixteen my father moved our family to Alberta. The family imprinting of loyalty, service to others and faith based living that happened in my early years still continues to pop up from time to time – not necessarily a bad thing. Family continues to be important in my life and I am very proud of my children who both are finding their grounding in their own unique ways and don’t mind speaking to mom every so often.
I was always involved in church in some way. When life suddenly had some major challenges and hurdles to be negotiated, God took my hand and moved me toward ministry. Those who had watched my faith grow told me it was not a surprise that Diaconal Ministry called my name.
The Centre for Christian Studies always felt like the right choice. I was so scared to go back to school but this place just felt like home. Don McLeod and Ted Dodd were the facilitators at my LDM and at times we just roared with laughter as we learned and explored together. Every year of the Diaconal program taught me more about myself and how the Spirit can move us into new adventures…spending three days hearing stories from Aboriginal viewpoints and recognizing the built-in biases I had absorbed… remembering everyone smile as they watched me realize the food I was eating for breakfast had a huge ecological footprint… having a facilitator insert a gentle question into a conversation which turned everyone’s perceptions upside down…the community at Booth at tea-time …the excitement of coming to circle knowing that, with friends who were drawn by God to that place at that time, something awesome was possible and probable.
I graduated in 2010 and was settled in the Pastoral Charge in Alberta that includes Cereal and Oyen United Churches. This was the last year that Settlement was not optional and, though I recognize that it didn’t work for everyone, it certainly did work for me. Settlement was an unsettling process but where I am is where God knew I was supposed to be. I find myself in an area where there are small churches in various stages of transition and upheaval. The Oyen Pastoral Charge has many personal connections with surrounding areas and we are seeing an opportunity to talk and walk together to a new way of being church in those communities. It’s exciting work.
My passion for music, reading and laughter fill my life well. I enjoy going for tea at our Seniors lodges and just visiting with folk…learning their stories and sharing a few of my own. We’ve learned that communication is a helpful tool, and there is a graciousness that extends among us in accepting and moving forward together in faith. For example, I mix the poetry of More Voices and Voices United in every service and really do try to pick music that they will know. But we’ve discovered that they have had a different hymn inventory that I have. They valiantly sing my choices every week (enjoying most of them) but one of the Elders of the Congregation is gathering a list of their favorite Old Hymns and together we’ll create a worship service out of them. We weave new and old traditions together and find ourselves yearning for more.
This busy, spirit-filled life is something I would never have envisioned for myself. Yet, here I am, where God would have me be and loving every minute of it.”