As a Christian community, we are formed and sustained by the:
- revealed presence of the Creator
- life and teaching of Jesus
- energy and depth of the Spirit
- insight and direction of Wisdom
- witness of generations of women and men of faith
- struggle and ambiguity of hope and faith
- call to justice and compassion.
We believe in an educational process that:
- leads to personal and social transformation
- recognizes and fosters life-long learning
- values diversity and inclusion
- nurtures relationships through acceptance and challenge
- integrates heart, soul and mind
- engages both action and reflection.
Our understanding of the ministry of diakonia is influenced by:
- scriptural roots and story
- a rich and varied history through the ages
- women’s history and experience in this ministry and mission
- the traditions of the Anglican and United Churches
- the many contemporary expressions of international diakonia
- a commitment to community
- the voices of the marginalized in church and society
- a dynamic vocation to education, pastoral care and justice-making.
We believe that all of life is relational and interdependent.
We believe that God’s activity in the world advances and supports love and right relationship, justice and compassion for all of creation. Through history prophets, priests, servants, healers and leaders have been called to action. God continues to call us to this beautiful and demanding life of faith.
Jesus lived his life, healing, teaching, confronting destructive powers, seeking just peace and respecting all life. He called others to this ministry. We believe we are to embody this wisdom, spirit and vision in the world today. We are to accompany those whose lives are devalued and to stand in solidarity with all of creation.
We know the Spirit in the great forces of creativity and love. We are called by this Spirit to celebrate the beauty of life and to heal the places of injustice.
Learning is a process and discipline that encompasses the whole person. Learners need to be intentional, taking responsibility for engagement, reflection, self-direction and goal setting. Education is enhanced when individual uniqueness is honoured and respected within community.
Community models of education are enabled when a climate of co-operation and collaboration, interdependence and mutuality is fostered, and all see themselves as co-leaders and co-learners. Learning needs to respect diversity by offering variety in approach and style, by honouring differences in background and viewpoint.
Learning is challenging and needs to anticipate and acknowledge the painful prospect of struggle and transformation, the probable resistance to change and transition, and the potential feelings of loss. Learning also needs to be supportive within an atmosphere of empowerment and affirmation, safety and trust where self-esteem is enhanced, questions are encouraged and potential is appreciated.
Learning for diaconal ministry needs to be formative, preparing women and men for lives of servant leadership and social transformation. Experiential learning models incorporate academic study and concrete experience, action and reflection. This learning needs to be integrative, valuing theory and practice, ideas and feelings, past, present and future.
Learning needs to be open to the possibility of education in every situation and to the promise of surprise and new insight. Learning makes and reveals meaning. This process is enriched by the experience and expertise of the larger community that surrounds and includes the learners. Learning needs to be relevant and stretching, connecting the broader church and world with learners in a way that informs, inspires and equips.
Because we believe that creation is holy and sacred, we commit ourselves to speaking and acting in ways that will promote wholeness and peace. We desire community that is constructive and inclusive, loving and inspiring. We confront language or behaviour that disrespects groups or individuals based on any real or perceived status: people who are young, old, ill, poor, disabled, indigenous, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, trans-gender, refugees, victims of violence, and those who experience racism.
We act out of a model rooted in diakonia, liberation theology and feminism. We hear a call to justice that motivates us to work and struggle for right relationship. We prepare one another for leadership in church and world by evaluating and critiquing the powers and principalities operating in the world and in ourselves. We are committed to creating a climate of respect for all people and to protecting the physical, spiritual, emotional and intellectual environment. We stand in the present, looking to our history and tradition to envision a future with hope and passion.
Affirming and Proud
The Centre for Christian Studies is an Affirming Ministry of the United Church of Canada through Affirm United, and a Proud Anglican Institution through Integrity. CCS has made the following commitments:
- With God’s help we are willing to seek and work toward just and right relationships in the Centre for Christian Studies community and beyond.
- With God’s help, we are willing to support and welcome the full participation of people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender in this community, the church and society at large.
- With God’s help we are willing to challenge, and be open to challenge, concerning homophobia and heterosexism.
- With God’s help we are willing to continuously work at individual and communal selfexamination and action that will create climates of inclusion, equality, compassion and right relationship.