Images from the Fall Integration Circle 2022

Images from the Fall Integration Circle 2022

“It’s surreal,” says CCS student Jen Prince, realizing that she has arrived at her final year in the Diaconal Ministries program. “It’s like when I’m nearing the end of a camping trip and I’m sad that the camp needs to be dismantled. I want to keep enjoying the trip. But I know that that’s where I’m at… And I don’t.”

The final year of studies for diaconal students at CCS is called the Integration Year, or simply “IY.” It is a year for pulling together all the pieces from their learning circles, their practical experience, their biblical and theological courses, and their emerging sense of ministry identity. Three students gathered in Winnipeg this week for the fall learning circle of their Integration Year. Jen Prince, Dyanne Marlok, and Pat Chabluk are not at the end – not yet – but they are at the beginning of the end of their CCS studies.

Dyanne remembers that back when she first came to CCS, she was just going to take a couple of courses. “But one thing led to another, and here I am!”

Under the facilitation of CCS program staff member Marcie Gibson, the students have been finalizing their learning goals for the year, learning about different theological methods and tools, engaging each other in discussion and debate about God, Christ, the Spirit, and the nature of humanity and creation.

Being back in person at CCS is a joy for staff and students alike. It is also strange, given the long gap created by the covid-19 pandemic, when learning circles moved exclusively online. “Before the pandemic, I had only been here twice,” Dyanne recalls. “Now three years later I’m back in the same building. But I’m not the same person.”

Being in person allows for some of the activities and embodied learning that we’ve been missing – doing skits, building human “machines” for simple tasks like making tea, being surrounded by the flipchart evidence of past conversations taped to the wall.

Pat, Dyanne, and Jen will support and challenge each other throughout this year as they reflect on all that they’ve learned and figure out what they still need to learn.