Nominations for 2018 Companion Now Open

The CCS Awards Working Group is inviting nominations for the 2018 Companion of the Centre Award.  The Companion of the Centre Award was established in 2001 by the Central Council of the Centre. Through this award, CCS honours at the Annual Service of Celebration, except for exceptional circumstances, one or more persons:

  • Graduates, who through their life and ministry, have brought distinction and honour to CCS;
  • Members of the CCS community (friends, volunteers, former staff and so on) who have made a significant contribution to the work of CCS, or,
  • Individuals in the wider community whose whole life and work epitomizes the ideals of CCS.

Nominations are welcome from graduates, students, friends, volunteers and staff.  (Download the form: PDF / RTF ).  Nominations must be received by September 30, 2017.

I Was A Witness

This spring Centre for Christian Studies student Lynn McGrath traveled to Israel and Palestine as part of a “Come and See” trip organized by the United Church of Canada and BC Conference.  (CCS diaconal ministry students are required to engage in a Global Perspectives experience as part of their program.)  The trip was led by retired minister Rev. Marianna Harris, and while there, participants connected with UCC partners such as Sabeel, Wi’am, Defence for Children International and Ecumenical Accompaniers.

Here are Lynn’s reflections on the experience:


Lynn and former CCS student Anne in Bethlehem

In April I joined eleven United Church people with curiosity and a sense of adventure for a tour of the Holy Land. I soon discovered I wasn’t just a tourist; I was a witness to the challenges that people of this land face in their daily lives. I had no prior perceptions of the Israeli or Palestinian people, but by the second day I discovered definite divisions between the two. Continue reading “I Was A Witness”

In the Beginning was the Logo – Continued

You may have noticed that the Centre for Christian Studies has a new logo popping up on our website and other places.  A few months ago I presented a retrospective of CCS logos past, and now that our new logo is here it seems appropriate to continue the story.  We’ve asked Del Sexsmith, chair of the Communications and Promotions Committee, to offer some thoughts on the nature of logos….


In the beginning was the Word… (John 1: 1)

We are all familiar with that text. All things start with the Word. We are marked by it.

And what does that have to do with our new logo? A little trivia first.

Logos is Greek for “word” and typos is Greek for “imprint.” Out of “logotype”, we have the abbreviation “logo”, the longer form of the word telling us that a logo is a graphic mark, emblem or symbol. We live with logos every day; they are synonymous with a corporate brand. In fact, we probably see a hundred or more logos every day without their truly registering with our conscious thoughts. Did you see the Apple logo when you turned on your laptop? The Windows logo on your desktop? Of course, you did. But you have already pushed this observation into the matrix of images that you accept as part of navigating your world.

Humans have developed the basic stuff of logos over a period of thousands of years, starting with ancient seals on cylinders. And coins were embossed with images hundreds of years before the birth of Christ. But our formal appreciation of logos didn’t officially get kick-started until the 1870’s, apparently, when the makers of Bass Ale trademarked their image of a red triangle and corporate branding was underway. Shortly thereafter, the Red Cross/Red Crescent set their logos. Proving that not all corporate entities are commercial. Among the better known brands, entities such as Coca-Cola and IBM have chosen to use their product name or acronym as the logo. But a simple symbol is the most effective tool for making an impression on the conscious and unconscious mind.

Christian ichthus

Strong logos strive to obtain instant recognition while earning the respect and understanding of the viewer. Christianity has been at this since the inception. There are those two intersecting arcs that (Greek again) we know as ichthus or the sign of the fish.

Latin Cross

That’s been about since the first century AD and now adorns cars everywhere, it seems. And then we have the most powerful images of the faith: the cross. There’s the Greek Cross with both lines equal in size, the Latin Cross with the horizontal cross shorter and higher on the vertical and the one that resonates with me, the Celtic Cross. It hangs in my study. But is it an icon or a logo?

 

Celtic Cross

It all depends on how you use it or how you view it. Strong logos move into colour as easily as they stand embossed in black or white. (Quick now: what colour is the Apple logo?).

As we undertake fresh programming and embrace new staff, it seems fitting for CCS  to introduce a new logo: a “C’, representing the Centre for Christian Studies. Here’s what the Branding Guidlelines document says about it:

Centre for Christian Studies

The “C” consists of coloured rays coming out of a central circle, graphically displaying our imagination of community centred in Christ and stretching outward into the community around us. The coloured rays also represent our own intimate communities of care giving us strength and encouragement to extend care to the margins of society and, reciprocally, receive challenge and insight from the margins to the centre. The “C”, a half circle, illustrates the openness to new ideas, dialogue and an invitation for others to enter. The half-circle graphically represents a welcoming, inclusive community. The diversity of colour represents the diversity of thought, experience and people. We are one body, but many individuals. The brown, green and blue tones reflect theological grounding in “diakonia”– the earth and sky. The yellows and oranges represent the light, imagination and hope – the sun and Son.

That’s a lot to grasp from one artistic representation. But over time, it will begin to embody all of those things to us at a glance. So, in short, the key attributes of a good logo are:

  • It’s easy for the eye to grasp (recognizable);
  • It embodies a key aspect of the corporate name (understandable);
  • It can be explained easily (explainable);
  • It can be embossed in one colour or media or enhanced with colour simply (flexible);
  • It can be used for a long period of time (durable).
Egyption ankh

And there you have it: the means to assess our logo or any logo, starting with the grand-daddy of them all:

The Egyptian ankh, or symbol of life. Of course, we don’t know for sure if that was the original logo; after all, CNN wasn’t there at the time to document it for us. Ah, CNN. Now there’s a good logo, too.

-Del Sexsmith

Cross images and trivia source: Wikipedia

Learning on Purpose 2017 – Apply Now

UPDATE: The June Learning on Purpose course in Saskatoon has been cancelled due to low registration.  Sorry for any inconvenience.  The August Learning on Purpose is still a go, though, and there’s still time to apply!

Learning on Purpose: Changing Leadership for a Changing World is back!  This summer our two-week leadership development course will be held in  Winnipeg in August.  The application for the August LoP is June 1st, so apply today.

Apply Online

Continue reading “Learning on Purpose 2017 – Apply Now”

Program Redesign

For the past year-and-a-half nearly 40 volunteers across the country have been meeting by phone or in person in small task groups to look deeply at various aspects of the Centre for Christian Studies’ educational programming.  The Program Review was endorsed by CCS’s Central Council, and the process for reviewing our curriculum – in light of the current social and global context, the needs of the church, the implications of communication technology, and the desire to make our programs more accessible to potential students – was designed in large part by Ann Naylor.  Over the past year, the Program Review Coordinating Team – Marcie Gibson, Linda Ervin, and Lori Stewart – have shepherded the process along.  Continue reading “Program Redesign”

The Only Point Is To Be Together

CCS student Meghan Witzel recently accompanied eleven youth from Waterloo Presbytery as a leader/chaplain on the “Two Countries One World” trip to Colombia.  Meghan shares some of her reflections:…


I have always believed in relational ministry. I think when we connect with people, whether on faith-based mutual ground or not, we discover the Holy in each other.

“In true relationships, the only point is to be together. Once there is another point, the relationship withers under the heat of expectations and obligations.”  – theologian Andrew Root.
Continue reading “The Only Point Is To Be Together”

Spring 2017 Ed Year Learning Circle

The twenty-one diaconal ministry students from coast to coast in the spring Educational & Liturgical Ministry learning circle are wrapping up their two-and-a-half weeks of intensive learning tomorrow.  They’ve been exploring things like christology, preaching, sacraments, aboriginal spiritualities, interfaith connections, and the role of the arts in ministry.

Final Week of CCS Learning Circle Cancelled Due to Student Strike

Recipients of the Companion of the Centre award are often role models for students in the diaconal ministry program of the Centre for Christian Studies. This is not necessarily a good thing.

Linda Ervin, rabble rouser

At part of last weekend’s celebrations, students in the Educational & Liturgical Ministry learning circle sat down with new Companion of the Centre, Linda Ervin, to hear about her life of diaconal connections and convictions. Linda regaled them with tales of justice-seeking and social activism. And then she dropped the bombshell: As a CCS student in the 1970s, Linda organized a student strike. Continue reading “Final Week of CCS Learning Circle Cancelled Due to Student Strike”

And the New Principal Is…

The Centre for Christian Studies is pleased to announce the appointment of Michelle Owens as its new principal.

Michelle Owens, the new principal of the Centre for Christian Studies

Michelle Owens is a United Church diaconal minister and a graduate of the Centre for Christian Studies (2007).  For the past four years she has been the Personnel Minister for London Conference of The United Church of Canada.  She brings keen skills in administration and policy, as well as a commitment to adult education and lifelong learning.

When Michelle came to Winnipeg for interviews last month, it was the first time she’d been back to the city since her graduation from the Centre. Having only recently returned from a pilgrimage, she came with what she calls “a spirit of discernment” – and with advice from her spiritual director: “Look for bends in the river.” Continue reading “And the New Principal Is…”

The Rain is Over and Gone

Before CCS student Charmain Bailey-Foutner started studying for diaconal ministry, she was a professional singer.  She closed out last Saturday’s graduation banquet with a stunning rendition of Paul Halley’s “The Rain is Over and Gone.”

2017 Graduates – video

Graduates Josh and Ian, with principal Maylanne Maybee

This past weekend two students graduated from the Diploma in Diaconal Ministries program of the Centre for Christian Studies.  Congratulations Ian McLean and Josh Ward.

At the Annual Service of Celebration on March 26, 2017, CCS Program Staff member Janet Ross delivered the citation to the graduating students…

Continue reading “2017 Graduates – video”