The Centre for Christian Studies is delighted to announce that the 2017 Companion of the Centre Award will be presented to Linda Ervin. Linda will be introduced to the CCS community at the Graduation Banquet on March 25 and the award will be presented with the Companion award at the Annual Service of Celebration on March 26, 2017 at 2:00.
Linda Ervin will make a fine Companion of the Centre. Since her graduation from the Centre for Christian Studies in 1973, she has worked as a Diaconal Minister and has advocated tirelessly for Diaconal Ministry and the Centre for Christian Studies in the United Church and beyond. Her career has focused on a blending of CCS’s three foci, that is, on education, social ministry and pastoral care. She is a success story in CCS’s mission of “Educating leaders for justice, compassion and transformation.”
Linda Ervin has worked in many and various congregations. An early call was to First United Church in Vancouver where she focused on social research and analysis; preparation of briefs; consultation with community development groups, government, and ecumenical partners; advocacy; appeals; conflict resolution. Through her work on the provision of community housing, she founded the First United Church Housing Society. This set the tone for all of her future endeavours which included setting up other housing organizations.
As minister at Kitsilano United Church, Linda worked with Jim Hillson, minister of St. James United Church to bring about the amalgamation of these two congregations. This involved the turnover of the one church to the St. James Community Square Society, a group of community activists; the sale of the other building for development; the negotiation of a new church home in cooperation with an Anglican church; the care and nurturing of the congregations while this was happening; and at the same time giving sanctuary to and working to help a refugee and her family to shelter from authority and later repatriate into her new environment. Jim says, “Linda Ervin represented the very best imagination for new innovation in how churches might interface with society”.
Linda values education. She has engaged in continuing education for herself, earning a BA and an MA as well as certificates in Canadian Urban Training, CAPPE and Interim Ministry. She was appointed to the faculty of St Stephen’s College in 1997 to coordinate the Master of Arts in Social Transformation Ministry Programme, and was Sessional Lecturer at the University of Alberta. She has always found time to supervise and mentor students, many from CCS, who have found her inspirational. She has also worked with many congregations in BC and Alberta to bring about congregational transformation as well as many committees of the United Church locally and nationally, mainly dealing with a wide range of spiritual and social justice issues. These have taken her to many parts of Canada and to countries in the Far East.
Linda realised her dream to work overseas when she became Executive Secretary of the Japan North American Commission on Cooperative Mission, working variously in Canada, USA and Japan overseeing projects, budgets and developing public relations.
Linda was one of the founding members of Diakonia of the United Church (DUCC) in 1984 and became their secretary. She represented DUCC at Diakonia of the Americas (DOTAC) in 1996, and then became President of DOTAC and Vice President of World DIAKONIA for 8 years giving her many opportunities to travel, make connections, and to have influence in many parts of the world. She encouraged many other ecumenical partners to develop their own organisations of Deaconesses, Deacons, and Diaconal Ministers and to communicate and cooperate in working to achieve social justice goals.
It is important to recognize that these activities grow out of Linda’s great love for people and deep passion for Diaconal Ministry. Linda not only does the work of ministry, but embodies the essence of Diaconal Ministry. Diaconal Ministry is not a job but dedication to a way of life, a way of life that CCS articulates as a theology committed to justice, a life dedicated to transformational education, outreach/advocacy/social ministry, and pastoral care. Linda Ervin lives the values of CCS.
She will make an exceptional Companion of the Centre for Christian Studies.