Happy Aboriginal Day

Happy National Aboriginal Day!  Are there any events or opportunities for you to connect with Indigenous people and communities in your area today?  Any ways to actively reflect on solidarity and decolonization?  Or just to celebrate the contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples make to our shared culture.

Maybe you’re staying in today.  If so, here are some of our favourite videos from the Second Fridays series we ran at the Centre for Christian Studies a few years ago, where we invited indigenous and non-indigenous speakers to challenge and inspire us… Continue reading “Happy Aboriginal Day”

CCS Grads Receive UW Degrees

Congratulations to Kristin Woodburke (CCS grad 2014)  and Josh Ward (CCS grad 2017), who received degrees from the University of Winnipeg’s United Centre for Theological Studies this weekend.  Kristin received her Bachelor of Theology and Josh received a Master of Arts in Theology (Spiritual Disciplines and Ministry Practice).  Josh was also awarded the Nisbet Memorial and Winchester Prize for the second highest standing in Theology.

Kristin Woodburke, BTh
Josh Ward, MA Theology

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. Continue reading “In the Beginning was the Logo – Continued”

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.”