A Room Full of Mentors
Students and grads often say, one of the most formative aspects of their studies at CCS is learning in community – in learning circles, in field placement community, in global community, and in diaconal community. While all of our students work with a diaconal mentor, most often this is one-on-one, and not a room full of them!
In early November, students in southwestern Ontario were invited to participate in a tri-regional Diakonia of the United Church of Canada (DUCC) gathering day held at Five Oaks Education and Retreat Centre near Paris, ON. Seven CCS students attended, of a group of about 30 people involved in diaconal ministry from the 3 United Church regions of Antler River Watershed, Horseshoe Falls, Western Ontario Waterways. The day was a great opportunity to network, to connect with past and current (and possible future) mentors, to witness to and feel the support of diaconal colleagues, and to reflect on the evolving nature of diaconal ministry.
Cheryl Kirk, retired diaconal minister in Antler River Watershed Region, offered leadership for the Theme: Holding On or Letting Go. The day involved small group discussions and report backs, story-telling and listening, tools for group discernment and analysis, and music and worship. For a more detailed account, please look for a write up in the next DUCC newsletter.
It is always a delight to hear the articulate and heartfelt participation of CCS students in these kinds of gatherings. It gives hope and fresh perspective to those who have come before, and an opportunity to share stories in both directions, that are seldom recorded. Furthermore, in a program where students are often isolated in their home contexts, these opportunities are crucial in formation.
I know that there are formal and informal gatherings of grads and the diaconate in many places across turtle island. If you know of one near you, or are planning one, consider inviting local students or those who might be discerning. Or students – maybe you’d like to host a gathering yourself for diakonia in the area.
The Spirit leads us to connect in many ways. Blessings on those connections where you are and where you are being led.
Marcie Gibson is Program Staff for the Centre for Christian Studies.