Circles of power, pain and singing
At the Centre for Christian Studies, we try to put life at the centre of theology. This does not mean that God is not central, only that we recognize that ministry happens out in the world. Over and over we ask, Who is God? Who are we? What is our task?
And so it is that we sit in learning circles confronted, at times, by issues that challenge us and touch our tender spots.
This spring, diaconal ministry and continuing studies students gathered to wrestle with issues of Power and Privilege, and Health, Pain and Trauma. Not only do these touch our personal lives, we also deal with them in Communities of Faith. Sometimes we need to challenge and sometimes to comfort.
Program staff, David Lappano, writes: During Power & Privilege, students had room to explore their own social location and they also delved into broader explorations of social analysis and how systems work. During Health, Pain, and Trauma students learned insights from disability theology and neurodiversity, they explored theologies of healing which also included a visit from a Palestinian-Canadian who works with an Israeli-Canadian to deepen the connections between Israelis and Palestinians. Noelle Bowles led a full day on mental health and trauma, covering a heavy set of topics in a very engaging and warm way.
As always, students engage their learning in a variety of ways: creating artistic installations that give deeper expression to their analyses, participating in reading discussion groups, creating liturgical pieces that integrate the material they’re studying and their experiences in ministry. Students led engaging and informative sessions on the legacy of the Social Gospel, Impacting Systems, Addictions, and Balance and Burnout. Students noted, “there were some significant ‘unexpected learnings’ this circle.” As each week went on it was clear to most that much of the deep, lasting, transformative, work was going to continue after the circles, and they were “looking forward to continuing the journey.”
This is also the time of year when the new Companion of the Centre joins the students and the wider CCS community for a discussion. This year Nancy Ford, from Victoria, joined the learning circle and students absolutely loved hearing of the incredible work Diaconal ministers are doing and have been doing over the years. “The visit with the new Companion is always inspiring.” “I could have listened to Nancy for even longer.”
These weeks are full, but as one student put it, “the flow and variety of learning activities is great.”
Power and Privilege, March 20 – 26, 2019
Health, Pain and Trauma, March 28 – April 3, 2019