Announcing the 2018 Companion of the Centre – Sue Taylor
“In my understanding, spirituality is about a sense of connectedness or a search for connectedness: Connectedness within ourselves or a feeling of “being at home” within ourselves; connectedness with others in relationships; connectedness within the wider community or the world; connectedness with the universe or creation and the mystery that we might call God—a connectedness that gives meaning to life.”
~ Sue Taylor
The Companion of the Centre is awarded annually to acknowledge someone who has made a significant contribution to the work of CCS or whose whose life and work epitomizes the ideals of CCS. We are pleased to announce that Sue Taylor will be the 2018 Companion of the Centre recipient. Sue will be presented with the award at the Annual Service of Celebration on April 15, 2018.
Sue has had three main stages to her working career. She trained as a nurse and worked in many caring roles for 27 years until she became aware of her calling to Diaconal Ministry. After graduating from CCS, she had a 2-year appointment as Christian Education Minister at First-St. Andrew’s United Church in London ON. She was then appointed to a role as the first chaplain at Carlington Community Chaplaincy in Ottawa, where she retired after 15 years. This appointment was a new idea that the community thought would help community building and advocacy within a disorganised and disadvantaged part of town. Sue, indeed, built it into a caring community, addressing their spiritual needs and advancing many projects to improve people’s lives. She was then appointed to First United Church, Ottawa as retired supply in Pastoral Care and Outreach, where she served for 9 years. After she retired fully she remained as a Volunteer Associate Minister until 2017.
Each of these positions benefitted from her nursing professionalism, her “energy that comes from acting on core values, particularly Social Justice, mutual support, respect for the sacred in ourselves and others and taking initiatives for expressing these values”. Her great sense of caring for individuals and the importance of building a strong community, encouraging leadership in others and her years of community experience, enabled her to link her church work with community needs. Indeed, these qualities in Sue were picked up even in her High School days when she was the recipient of a top award at her school for “resolution, good fellowship, and integrity”. Sue’s whole life has been lived in this spirit, laced with a great sense of humour and fun.
We had references: from the past chair of the Carlington Social Action Committee, both a layperson and a Minister (former team-mate with Sue) at First U.C., the Executive director of the Multifaith Housing Initiative, and the Manager of Volunteer Services at Hospice Care Ottawa. They all gave glowing reports of Sue’s capabilities and initiatives in their different programmes, but were unusual in the degree to which each individual referee seems to have been touched personally by Sue’s Ministry. Of her Church work, her referee said, “She truly modelled what it is like to live out the faith…she brought a generosity of spirit, working with clergy, taking on many roles in services, congregational life, outreach and social justice”. She was there at a particularly sensitive time while First United Church sold their building and moved, entering into a joint arrangement with All Saints Anglican Church Westboro where they would share the building and some programming.
Among other things, Sue has followed, closely and personally, the work of Truth and Reconciliation. She has mentored CCS Student, been a resource person on Pastoral Care in a circle in Toronto, and was one of 8 seasoned Diaconal Ministers who were wise resources to a Winnipeg based Learning Circle. She has been an active member of DUCC both in Ottawa and at National events.
As her nominators said, “Sue’s life and ministry has been grounded in community…. she has been intentional about creating community, inclusivity, and working for transformation….Her leadership style is invitational and collaborative, such that the initiatives continue without her…Her initiatives served to enable and support the diaconal ministry that was embodied by others in the congregation. We believe that Sue has epitomized and honoured the mission and values of the Centre”.