Irene Rainey – Companion

Last Sunday Irene Rainey was named a Companion of the Centre by the Centre for Christian Studies.  Irene is an educator, an advocate, a social justice activist, and committed diaconal minister.  We are overjoyed to have her as a Companion.

You can watch an interview with Irene conducted by Lori Stewart at the grad banquet the night before.  (The video cuts out about halfway through, but the audio carries on.)

And here is the citation, prepared by Ted Dodd, to introduce Irene at the CCS Annual Service of Celebration:


 

Okay, let’s start with the details.

They are pretty impressive.

Irene Rainey has worked as a nurse,  stay-at-home mom, a congregational staff associate, a presbytery staff for Christian Development, a community minister at St. Matthew’s-Maryland.

She studied nursing at Wellesley Hospital, women’s studies at the University of Manitoba, diaconal ministry at the Western Field Based Program.  And for St. Stephen’s College, she researched and co-wrote a thesis on reclaiming lament as a resource for transformation.

In the church, she has volunteered for the United Church’s Winnipeg Presbytery Personnel Committee, Conference in the areas of communication, education and justice, the General Council’s Education for Church Leadership task group, the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Decade in Solidarity with Women, the North End Stella Community Ministry Board,  Diakonia of The United Church of Canada,  and her home congregation, Augustine.

She has lent her support to a wide variety of social justice organizations: RAR (Reflect, Act, Reflect),  Project Peacemakers, the Children’s Home of Winnipeg, Fort Garry Family Life Centre, a co-op nursery school, Make Poverty History, Partners in Mission, West End Women’s Resource Centre, Spence Neighbourhood Association, “Grands ‘n Others” of the Stephen Lewis Foundation

At CCS, she has served as a member of the Central Council, Chaplain at the learning circles, a Seasoned Diaconal Minister, facilitator and mentor for students, external marker, a planner for the 120th anniversary celebrations. She even was involved in the Endowment campaign quilt “Life Shaping Justice.”

All these efforts and involvements, represent a woman of exceptional energy, passionate commitment, and steadfast engagement.  In all these accomplishments and endeavours she entered into her tasks and responsibilities in an the incredibly dedicated way.

Always she brings a lens of justice-seeking and prophetic witness.  Her keen social analysis is deeply, and appropriately, enmeshed in an action-reflection methodology.

In her anti-racism, anti-poverty, anti-violence, anti-sexism work, she is a zealous advocate for the disenfranchised, and for those on the margins.  Irene is a trusted ally who walks with others in accompaniment and solidarity.

Always she enters into a situation as a learner.  She exhibits openness, curiosity, and humility.  She willingly hears other points of view because she wants to broaden her perspective.  Irene asks questions, seeks new insight and offers alternative viewpoints that enhance right relationship.

Always she listens attentively with supportive compassion and a calm, patient presence that demonstrates mutuality, a reciprocal position of partnership, and a deep desire to understand.  She is open to dialogue.  Yet, she is free to disagree.  When she is confronting, she is never condescending.  When she is challenging, she never makes others defensive.  Her critique is offered not imposed.  Always she is respectful.  Always she is empowering.

This grandmother, mother, life partner, traveler, lover of creation and nurturer of creativity embodies the values of CCS: justice, compassion and transformation.

It is a great honour for us as an organization, as a diaconal movement, and for me, personally as a friend and colleague, to be involved in naming Irene Rainey, Companion of the Centre for Christian Studies.