These last few weeks we have been enjoying the opportunity to visit students in their field placements. At the beginning of each theme year, the program staff make an effort to connect in person with the facilitators, mentors and local committees attached to each site. While at each location, we orient the volunteers to the expectations of the program and explore the students’ learning plans for the year. It brings particular joy to see many dear friends of CCS and to develop our network of with new supporters.
We estimate that about 100 volunteers across Canada engaged in supporting, mentoring, and learning alongside the 16 students coming into the Education Theme Year. These volunteers give of their time, talent, and energy just because they were asked! Without them it just wouldn’t be possible for the two and one-third program staff at CCS to deliver the quality of teaching and learning that we do.
In 2013-2014, we are focusing on the topics of educational ministry and faith formation, worship and preaching, ecumenical and interfaith connections. Most of the students this year are placed in congregational settings where they stretch themselves in areas identified for further work: sermon writing, ministry with children or bible study, for example. Stepping foot in the front line faith communities across the country keeps us abreast of the trends that are arising in the ecclesial world.
During the month of September, Ted traveled (or will travel) to Alberta, Ontario, and parts of British Columbia to do field orientations. Maylanne also did field orientations in British Columbia.
While we are making these journeys we try to gather groups and touch base with CCS grads and allies when we can. In Edmonton, Betty Marlin and Barbara Lieurance called together a handful of folks for a pot luck dinner and an opportunity to see the slides of the World DIAKONIA Assembly, which took place this July in Berlin. A similar occasion was organized in Calgary by Carolynne Bouey-Shank and Vicki McPhee, and, in Stratford, Kathy Douglas hosted. While in BC, Maylanne met with Marjorie Powles. These events serve the purpose of maintaining rich diaconal connections and building community for learning and prayer, support and accountability.