Expressing our Values

As part of its strategic planning, the CCS council has been working at expressing our values as an institution.  (Over the years our CCS values have stayed fairly consistent, but from time to time our articulation of them change.)  Check out what they’ve come up with below.

And here’s an invitation to artists in the CCS community:  Words are great, but they’re not the only way to express something.  If you’re an artist – whether your medium is paint, clay, fabric, wood, the human body, whatever – we’d be thrilled if you would look at our core values below to see if anything inspires you.  We’d love to feature your art in our blog to illustrate our value statements.  What colour is “Acting in faith?”  What is the shape of “Sacred Community?”  What can origami reveal about “Participating in a larger community?”  Consider this an invitation, or a challenge, or a dare.

 

CCS – Who We Are

The Centre for Christian Studies is a national theological school for women and men preparing for ministry in the Anglican and United Churches of Canada.  Our roots go back to the 1890s when the Anglican, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches founded schools in Toronto for women to study theology and be trained as deaconesses and missionaries.  CCS continues to train and support leaders who emerge from the “edges” to engage in ministry that lives in the world, works with the world and transforms for wholeness. 

Our Mission

“Educating leaders for justice, compassion and transformation.”

Our Core Values

1.  Acting in faith…

  • Approaching theology from a position of inquiry and struggle, striving to extend our boundaries outward in dialogue with other denominations, religious traditions, and spiritual expressions;
  • Nurtured by the Anglican and United Church traditions;
  • Centred in an understanding of the God of grace, love and reconciliation, for us and all of creation, as set out in Scripture;
  • Finding liberation and life in Jesus’ ministry of justice and healing;
  • Empowered by the Spirit of the risen Christ and guided by Wisdom.

2. Living a theology of justice…

  • Inspired by Jesus’ reversal of power, his example of service in washing the feet of his disciples, and his rejection of the values of empire;
  • Believing that justice includes economic, social, and ecological concerns;
  • Founding our work and relationships in values of mutuality, equality, and respect;
  • Acknowledging our churches’ culpability in unjust practices and seeking to redress them;
  • Responding to the prophetic and gospel call to share resources, to restore what was taken, to reconcile what was divided, to embrace those who have been excluded.

 3.  Educating through action/reflection, integration, transformation…

  • Believing that education is most effective when it engages the whole person, when we are co-learners and co-teachers, and when it is relevant and collaborative;
  • Valuing education that is self-directed and relational, affirming and evaluative;
  • Dedicated to forming learning communities as the foundation to our approach to education.

4.  Grounding ourselves in sacred community… 

  • Fostering community-building that challenges individualism and egotism;
  • Intentional about creating life-giving communities of learning as a context for growth, shared wisdom, hospitality, support, and accountability;
  • Seeking to create communities that are inclusive, respectful, and diverse.

5.  Living out of a spirit of abundance and gratitude. 

  • Our beginning was made possible by gifts from major donors who believed in the founding vision of our school;
  • Our present and future is made possible by donations from graduates and Friends, and by grants from institutional supporters;
  • We rely for our governance and program on a company of volunteers who give and give back to CCS as members of our Central Council, Committees, and working groups; as learning facilitators, mentors, and supporters for our students.

6.  Participating in a larger story…

  • Nurtured by a worldwide, ecumenical network of deacons and diaconal ministers from many traditions;
  • Sharing values and vision of faith, justice, education, service and community with many movements, institutions, and communities;
  • Learning through active involvement in movements for justice;
  • Fostering partnerships of solidarity for common cause.

3 thoughts on “Expressing our Values”

  1. Hello, I have been an observer of the CCS community initiated by being part of a local community a few years ago. I am very inspired by your work and newsletter and I wonder how we might be able to form an informal partnership that might help in some way. I am an Anglican, and an elementary school teacher, and was called to begin a school in Madagascar in 2008. The school has grown and become my full time work, dividing my time between Madagascar, Ontario where our Board of Directors is, and Nova Scotia where my husband and I now live. I am very interested in learning more about conflict resolution and group dynamics as we gradually hand over ownership of the school to the local village community over the next 10 years. Having been used to a very top-down system, it will be a challenge, I think, and we could use all the help we could get from a group such as yours. I don’t want to limit possibilities, but would you have any useful on-line resources or suggestions? I am in Madagascar right now, so can’t buy books, but can download text when in the city. Thank you very much. Praying for the blessings on you and your great work! Kathy

    1. Hi Kathy. Sounds like you’re doing really interesting work. If you were in Canada I’d suggest that our Leadership Development Module would be a great place to work on skills in group facilitation, conflict resolution, and non-hierarchical leadership. We use a fairly practical and contextual approach to education, so we don’t have a lot of straight “content” that can easily pulled out and be printed out or put online. Other organizations have some good online resources though, so if anyone reading has any to suggest I’d invite you to leave a reply comment.

  2. I wonder if a visit to the school in Madagascar would work as a student’s global perspective experience?

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