Over the past two and a half weeks of the Social Ministry spring learning circle, two graduates of the Centre – Denise Davis Taylor (grad 1982) and Christina Paradela (grad 2000) – have been providing care and support to the students in the circle. We asked them to reflect on their experience as chaplains at the learning circle. They wrote …
We returned to the diaconal circle we left 35 and 17 years ago respectively; a circle that formed us and focused our ministries in social justice. The times are different and the faces are different but the circle is the same; a circle of formation and education for service in the world community. We wanted to give back to the community of diaconal formation that clarified, inspired and created our identities in ministry. We brought to this learning circle not only our pastoral skills as chaplains but also our experience and passion for social justice. We came trusting that we would encounter an ancient, rich Wisdom that connects us to Diakonia expressed in many ways over the centuries. It was a coming home to be renewed, refreshed and reaffirmed in our sense of call.
Being asked to be a pastoral presence during these two and a half weeks of intense learning for students was a luxury for us. Frequently, we find ourselves in leadership roles where we have to focus on content and process; our positions as chaplain allowed us to focus on people and group dynamics. From this unique perspective we witnessed strength, commitment and passion for Christ’s ministry in the church and the world. We leave feeling inspired by these new diaconals who will continue to serve God’s mission from coast to coast.
All acts of effective ministry are mutual. By sitting in this circle we shared who we are and we received a grounding in our diaconal identities. As in the story of Jesus washing Peter’s feet, we have been humbled by this experience and inspired to walk with humility in the presence of Christ in the margins.
It was difficult to carve out the time to be here, but we leave having been embraced by the Divine. May you be opened to this profound opportunity for both ministry and learning.
In gratitude and love,
Denise and Christina