The New Program Is Here, The New Program Is Here!

After a year and half of reviewing and redesigning, the Centre for Christian Studies is excited to be unveiling the new shape of our educational program!

Anglican FoundationWe are grateful to the nearly forty volunteers who helped discern a path, especially the members of the Program Review Coordinating team.  We are also grateful to the Anglican Foundation, who provided funding for the program review and redesign process.

Certain things remain consistent: We are still committed to educating leaders for justice, compassion, and transformation.  We are still devoted to diaconal formation and grounded in ministries of diakonia. We are still guided by our values of learning-in-community, adult education that honours the wholeness of the person, and theology that is justice-seeking.

And we still think that the kind of education we’ve been doing, in various ways, since 1892 is pretty great stuff.

So what’s been tweaked in this program redesign?  The report of the Program Review had many insightful recommendations that will impact the content and pedagogy of our program in the years to come, but some structural changes that we’re rolling out starting this fall are…

  • The program is a bit more flexible.  Previously the structure of the Diploma in Diaconal Ministries program had three theme years (Pastoral Care, Social Ministry, and Education) offered on a rotating basis.  Theme years were great for integration of practice with theory, but if a student had to drop out for a year (because, you know, life) then it was a long wait until that missed theme year cycled back around again.  Our new structure separates the various components (field placements, learning circles, etc.) and offers shorter learning circles on a variety of themes within one year.  Students can take four learning circles a year, or three, or one and some external academic courses in theology or biblical studies; whatever works best for their schedule and learning goals.  They can make their way through the program fast or slow, depending on their needs.
  • The program is a bit more open.  Shorter learning circles on more focused topics might be appealing to people looking for continuing education.  Maybe you want to spend a week at CCS learning about spiritual care in the context of grief and loss, or take part in a learning circle on right relations.  Well now you can!  Whether you’re minister looking to deepen your skills, or an alumni wanting to reconnect with a learning community, or just someone interested in a specific topic, you can apply to become a Continuing Studies student.
  • The program is a bit more adaptable. Anglican students interested in the diaconate might have different needs and requirements than students studying for United Church diaconal ministry.  Or students coming into the program with extensive experience or education might apply to have their prior learning in specific areas recognized.  The new program structure creates more space for customization.
  • Everybody integrates all the time! We used to have a thing called a “reflection year.”  Students used this non-credit year for a variety of things: working on external courses, catching up on outstanding work, getting their personal lives in order. Problem was, some students felt a bit lost during reflection years; disconnected from CCS community support and the practice of intentional learning.  We think the process of action and reflection is really important for diaconal students, so we’ve come up with a”praxis” component for all diaconal students to do every year they’re active in the program, regardless of what else they’re doing (learning circles, field placements, external courses, reflecting, etc.).  It’s about making meaning out of your experience, with the support of other students, program staff, and mentors.

If you want to learn more about the CCS program, visit the Program page to see the course requirements for the Diploma in Diaconal Ministries.

Are you interested in becoming a Continuing Studies student so you can take part in occasional learning circles?  Visit the Admissions page to apply.  This year’s circles include…

October 11-17, 2017 Ministry as Listening (SC1)
October 19-25, 2017 Grief and Loss (SC2)
January 2018 – March 2018  (online) Ages and Stages (EW2) *tentative
April 11-17, 2018 Relationships (SC3)
April 19-25, 2018 Right Relations (SJ5)

See the Course and Circles page for circles that may be coming in the future