Neighbours ~ a good Samaritan story by Annika Sangster

CCS grad Annika Sangster has published a delightful retelling of the story of the Good Samaritan called Neighbours. We recently talked about the genesis of the book and gaining the confidence to share her creativity. Details for purchasing Neighbours are at the bottom of the article.

 

Neighbours emerged from a Vacation Bible School with a twist. Not just “Bible”, Annika’s church had decided to explore the Golden Rule through different faith traditions. The story Annika wanted to share from the Christian tradition was the Good Samaritan, but she couldn’t find a version that she liked. So she created her own out of plasticine.

“I could see this picture in my head,” she explained. “I wanted [the children] to see the Good Samaritan as a basic person. I made the Good Samaritan an androgynous kind of person, at least that was my intent.”

In the final version, that original image changed characters. “The person I imagined to be the Good Samaritan turned out to be the person who was hurt. I thought the person who was relatable to them was the person who was hurt.”

Annika is a cake decorator. Working with fondant is one of her favorite creative ways of expression. She used that skill and translated it to clay making several images for the story.. Continue reading “Neighbours ~ a good Samaritan story by Annika Sangster”

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. Continue reading “Announcing the 2018 Companion of the Centre – Sue Taylor”

Music, the Bible and connecting to God

CCS program staff person Janet Ross reflects on Music and Spirituality in the Rupertsland News.

Music has had a significant place in my life and in some ways has been a “character” or perhaps more accurately a kind of dialogue partner in my life story. Music has invited me into new spaces of existence and existentiality, has confronted me, and has comforted me. When approached with the topic for this month’s edition of RLN, I asked if I might include a bit about music and scripture, and then interview two Winnipeg musicians on their understanding of music and spirituality. Thus, the format for this article includes first some roles of music in scripture and, next, comments on experiences of music and spirituality from two Winnipeg musicians, Cate Friesen and John K. Samson.

Read the full article here, beginning on page 5.

“Music unites the worlds of human 
and divine (2 Chronicles 5:13). In
a utopic description, the text
relays that it is only when the
musicians and singers are as
one, in complete harmony,
that divine glory descends to
live among the people.”

Listening brings healing

Racism is not an easy thing to talk about with white people, or so I’ve found. When I was bullied all through grade 7, shoved up against lockers and called “Paki,” my caucasian friends just kept walking, as if they’d seen nothing. I was too ashamed to bring it up myself, so we just acted like it hadn’t happened – even though it happened every single day.

Many years later, at a friend’s 40th birthday party, I sat with 3 of my closest high-school friends. It occured to me that after all these years it might be a good thing for me to share honestly with them about my experiences back in school; the struggles my family went through and why we never talked about them outside of our home.

It did not go well. Continue reading “Listening brings healing”

Mamawe Ota Askihk – Sharing Life Together Here on Earth

Diaconal minister Karen Tjaden reflects on a week at the Sandy Saulteaux Spiritual Centre with Indigenous community leaders and settler allies to reclaim the homebred, the homespoken, the homegrown, and the homemade. Photographs from Michelle Owen’s experience at the  Feast for Friends.

Centred around the sacred fire, a wonderful community based on an immersion experience in sustainable food emerged at Sandy Saulteaux Spiritual Centre this week.  It was a privilege to be part of the circle with Sandy Saulteaux students and other Indigenous people from their communities. Continue reading “Mamawe Ota Askihk – Sharing Life Together Here on Earth”

Ministry in listening, grief and loss

Program staff David Lappano shares thoughts about two fall learning circles.

This October the Centre has offered two learning circles – Ministry as Listening and Grief and Loss. Students were surprised at how much they learned from each other by beginning with sharing a significant sound in their lives. The sound of water lapping under a dock conjured memories of times of rest and friendship. The sound of Canada Geese was associated with spring and accompaniment – the geese’s v-formation an illustration of helping each other travel as the geese shared space in the front. Memories of being called in for meals by parents or the ringing of a bell.

Actor/playwright Debbie Patterson reads from her work “This Is How It Ends” about dying and end of life issues.

Continue reading “Ministry in listening, grief and loss”

Join us in Vancouver!

Join CCS principal Michelle Owens for an evening with ecumenical and international partners in diaconal ministry.

The Central Committee of Diakonia of the Americas and the Caribbean, DOTAC, will be meeting in Vancouver. Along with CCS, they will host an evening gathering on November 9 to celebrate the many and diverse expressions of international and ecumenical diakonia. Continue reading “Join us in Vancouver!”

“Café del Soul” serves change and purpose

Meet Pinegrove UC, a medium-sized church in Rosslyn, NW Ontario. Rosslyn used to be a community of farmers, but with Thunder Bay nearby it’s taking on some characteristics of a bedroom community. Pinegrove used to be the thriving community hub, but when I started there 5 years ago it felt more like a rudderless ship. People pining for the days of yore, when there was hardly enough room to hold the congregation, with a choir that shook the rafters, when there was a thriving Sunday School, when… in short, think your average United Church.

I wasn’t sure how long I’d stay with these lovely but lost people. As a restless person, I felt confined and misplaced. I was eager to form new faith communities, not work with these stuck-in-the-muds. But as I walked with them through times of great joy and deep despair, I got to know them. After a while, I knew them better than I ever thought I would. And with it came love, and with love came an awareness of their God-given potential. I decided to stay a little longer. Continue reading ““Café del Soul” serves change and purpose”

Ministry as Listening

Above, students in the Ministry as Listening learning circle participate in a mirroring exercise.

For the past week, seventeen students have gathered at Woodsworth House  to explore Ministry as Listening. Participants include a certificate student, in the ordination stream at the Atlantic School of Theology, a continuing studies student, taking the learning circle for interest, a Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre student, with the rest diaconal diploma students. Continue reading “Ministry as Listening”

Living Stones

Recently retired diaconal minister Allison Halstead shares  her May 2017 reflection to the Manitoba North West Ontario Conference.

I recently hiked Hadrian’s Wall in northern England. A stone wall made of squared stone 120 km long, 3 m wide, 5-8 m high. There’s not much of it left and some think that’s a shame — we humans seem to love a good wall!

But as I walked, I thought – the wall is still here , or the stones are – the carefully chosen, shaped, and placed rocks are still here — but now in stone fences that divide pastures so sheep may safely graze, in bridges and roads so all may safely travel, and in barns and houses so all may safely dwell. Continue reading “Living Stones”

Praxis begins!

CCS staff person Scott Douglas reports on the first Praxis on-line gatherings. Praxis is a component of the new program structure.

The Centre for Christian Studies held its first online gatherings of students in its first Praxis year on September 18th and 20th. “Praxis” is a (kind of) new component in CCS’s diploma and certificate programs. 

Program staff member David Lappano described Praxis as the “spine or backbone” of the diaconal ministries program.  The introduction of greater flexibility for students gave rise to the need for something to hold all those different components together. In any given year a student can choose to enroll in one, two, three, or more theme learning circles, a practical field placement, or not, and any number of their required eight external academic courses. Hence, the Praxis component; the spine to which all the other limbs attach. Continue reading “Praxis begins!”

CCS welcomes new staff!

Marcie Gibson

When CCS embarked on a program review and redesign in 2015, there was no specific intent to roll out a newly designed program immediately. With the program staff team down following Ann’s medical leave and Maylanne’s retirement meaning a brand new principal, there are enough changes going on, right? But if change is a’happening you might as well go full out. Why wait? And so as Michelle Owens steps into the principal role, the new school year launches the new program structure and there’s more new staff. Continue reading “CCS welcomes new staff!”

A time of covenanting

God calls us to diaconal ministry. 
The gospel of Jesus invites all to this ministry:
to offer compassion and accompaniment,
to work for liberation and justice,
to act as advocates of creative transformation. *

Colleagues, friends, students and graduates gathered on September 13 to covenant with Michelle Owens as she steps into the roll of principal at the Centre for Christian Studies. Michelle takes on this position as CCS enters its 125th year while rolling out a new program design. Continue reading “A time of covenanting”