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”

Highlights of World Diakonia

The 2017 Assembly of the Diakonia World Federation was held in Chicago, from June 28 to July 5 July, 2017.  Many CCS staff members, alumni, and friends were in attendance.  Lori Stewart offers reflections on the gathering…

On the first morning of the World Diakonia Federation gathering I was among an excited, colourful group of members, gathered on the sidewalk in anticipation of the start of a procession into the building where we would hold our meetings for the coming week.

Preparing for World Diakonia procession

Yolly, a deaconess from the Philippines, introduced herself and took a selfie with me—I felt like I was among friends.  That initial experience carried through the whole conference.  There were friends there that I hadn’t met yet, for sure, but each of the conversations I had started from a place of familiarity.   We held in common not only our calling to diakonia, but also a depth of purpose as people who follow Jesus out of the church and into the community.  Knowing that there are sisters and brothers all over the world who share the joys and struggles of this commitment, is heartening in the midst of my own! Continue reading “Highlights of World Diakonia”

Continuing Studies at the Centre for Christian Studies

Are you interested in the kind of learning that goes on at the Centre for Christian Studies?  Do you wish you could explore specific themes and topics in spiritual care, or social justice, or Christian education and/or worship as part of a circle of learners?  But you don’t want to be a deacon or diaconal minister?  Or maybe you already are in ministry, but you’d like to keep learning.  Maybe you’re a CCS alumni who misses the community of a learning circle.

Continuing Studies at CCS may be for you.  Apply to be a Continuing Studies student, and you can register for theme learning circles with diaconal students – reading, discussing, exploring, connecting. Continue reading “Continuing Studies at the Centre for Christian Studies”

An Invented Life

CCS grad Terrie Chedore reflects on her calling as a diaconal artist…

“What are you doing these days?” That was the question everyone was asking at World DIAKONIA 2017. What an amazing event! About 450 women and men from over 31 countries! I wasn’t sure how well I would fit in because I am one of those diaconal folk who serve on the edge of the church. That was not a problem. I met other diaconal folk who are also doing new things and describing themselves with titles like ‘spiritual animator,’ ‘arts and environment coordinator,’ and ‘healing facilitator.’  I call myself a ‘diaconal artist.’ When I explained what that meant to me, one woman suggested that I live ‘an invented life.’ Yes, perhaps that is true. Continue reading “An Invented Life”