Today, in our continuing “About You” series of profiles from the CCS community, we feature CCS student Jim Hatt. Jim writes:
In spring 2006 I had the good fortune to hear former principal Caryn Douglas speak at London Conference. She talked about CCS and the program that they offered. She pointed out that students were responsible for their learning and were able to identify their needs as they studied. I have found it to be a caring community offering insight into our Christian beliefs and assistance in developing our faith journey. It has been a place where I felt safe to explore who I am and what I believe.
I am glad I started with the education year as my first circle in 2007/8. Education had been my whole life up to this point, offering ministry to children. Teaching children and offering leadership to adults was a wonderful career where I was able to care for people under my charge.
I had been retired a few years when I decided I was ready to continue to serve others. There was a four year time span between year one and year two. My second year, Pastoral Care, was a challenging one. I learned so many things… I learned how to accompany others during difficult times of death and dying. I learned new words to use in my vocabulary. I learned new words to use in times of grief. I learned how to pray with people where they were at in their life journey. I learned to listen and provide a ministry of presence to people. I learned to quietly walk the path of our master and learned of love as the great gift that I could give in listening and caring about my fellow travelers. It was a wonderful journey, one in which I learned I was able to grow closer to people in their time of need.
Year three, Social Ministry, is a year of seeing that the world is not a just world, but still one in which we all live and travel, just or not. I have learned I come from a place of privilege and power. I need to stand in solidarity with my sisters and brothers who have not received justice because of their color, sexuality, social status. I have learned of the need to talk to others of justice. I have learned to be vulnerable when necessary. I have made new friends at the Downtown Mission with whom I can enjoy a cup of coffee as I share in their lives and earn their trust.
This has been a transformative journey. I am not the same person who went to Winnipeg in 2006. I have grown. I have “matured”. I have grown older too. I am an advocate now for people who need me to stand with them. I understand I am called to work for liberation and justice. I am called to continue teaching. I am called to continue to study and to offer an invitation to others to study the scriptures.
I am called to servant hood. I am to walk alongside my fellow sojourners to make Christ’s redemptive love known. I am called to interpret to the church the needs, concerns and hopes of those with whom and by whom I travel. How fortunate I am to have heard Caryn Douglas that day. God sent her to bring the message! I have heard and listened.”