The log in my eye

The Log in my Eye

Patricia and fellow student at Learning on Purpose

Patricia Vollmann-Stock attended the Centre for Christian Studies’ 2-week intensive, Learning on Purpose, which took place in Victoria, B.C. from June 11-23, 2018.

Our group of 12 men and women of various ages had the privilege to meet and hear stories from two people who work at Our Place Society, an outreach ministry in downtown Victoria. Shirley and Carlos have both had lives filled with pain and addiction, but each overcame their challenges and are now beacons of hope to others who take time to hear their stories of redemption and love. I reflect on a biblical passage that came to mind, Titus 3:5 – “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.”
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What happened in Victoria changes lives! Learning on Purpose – 2 weeks in pictures

This year, the Centre for Christian Studies held its 2-week signature program, Learning on Purpose, in beautiful Victoria, BC. Christ Church Cathedral provided a dramatic stained glass backdrop and awesome organ music. Students gathered from June 11 – 23 to learn what it means for them to be faith leaders that uplifts others, are analytical about and critical of structure, rooted in tradition while walking boldly in the future, reflective and responsive.

Click on a gallery to scroll through the images.
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Sharing the grace of community and the everyday – Reflections on retirement

Retirement, a time to reflect and to ponder. I grew up in the United Church, and it is a place I have been rooted in all my life. My dream was to be a nurse at the Hospital for Sick Children’s in Toronto where I did train for my 25 year nursing career. With increasing involvement in the church, I became more aware of my sense of call to ministry. Through a time of reflection and prayer, decided to answer that growing pull to a different kind of ministry.

In these early days, I was privileged to serve in a partnership of a United Church and Lutheran Church with marginalized people living in Kitchener-Waterloo. It enlivened and challenged my relationship with God. It was a time of learning to honour how much each person has something to be valued in community. A time to encourage those who feel so outside the accepted places to find the ways they can share their gifts.

After 15 years serving in the outreach ministry, it was time to move on. Near the end of my time there, I started to serve a small congregation struggling to find some meaning for their presence in their community. It too was a time of empowering people, for them to look outside the walls of the church to the community they served and find ways to connect as they share the love of God they so enjoyed within those walls.

Marilyn Shaw – ready to exit

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The top 5 things that all Companions share – who do you nominate?

Every year, the Centre for Christian Studies names one person, or occasionally two people, as Companion of the Centre.  Companions of the Centre epitomize diakonia and provide inspiration to all of us on how to live into this ministry.  While the people who have been distinguished over the years are fairly diverse, there are 5 traits that they all share:

  • the spirit of diakonia infuses their whole lives
  • they are passionate about the world around them
  • their ministry has touched others profoundly
  • they offer in the spirit of love and service
  • they inspire us
2018 Companion of the Centre, Sue Taylor

The CCS Awards Working Group is now inviting nominations for the 2019 Companion of the Centre Award.  Continue reading “The top 5 things that all Companions share – who do you nominate?”

We have exciting news!

 

The Centre for Christian Studies is delighted to announce that Marcie Gibson is joining our Program Staff team on a permanent basis. Marcie has been working with the Centre for the last two years on contract, facilitating the Integration Year and coordinating field placements. She grew up in the Anglican tradition, is a graduate of CCS and a Diaconal Minister in the United Church of Canada. Continue reading “We have exciting news!”

You helped this leader become a more faithful ally

Barbara Hansen already had a heart for justice when she arrived as a student at CCS. In fact, she met her spouse, Stephen, at a hearing in Calgary about the Mackenzie pipeline 42 years ago. On April 28 of this year, the 2014 CCS graduate boarded a bus with about 48 other people from Vancouver Island, to stand in solidarity with the Water Protectors in opposition of the Trans Mountain pipeline at the Kinder Morgan site in Burnaby, BC.

What made her catch a 7 a.m. ferry to spend a Saturday outside in the rain? Both her sense of being called to a ministry of standing with the marginalized and oppressed, and her belief that ministry includes all of creation. Barbara said, “Sadly, the process for the Trans Mountain pipeline misrepresents the issues and the fairness of the results of the process. The rights of Indigenous people are not being respected, and because the cost of being heard is still prohibitive their voices are not being heard. Their traditional way of life, inclusive of all creation towards the future, is being ignored for the sake of “progress”, resulting in increased emissions and environmental impacts from fossil fuels.

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Baptised and formed – Ecumenical Conversations on the Diaconate

CCS staff Lori Stewart and David Lappano attended the International Anglican-Roman Catholic-Ukrainian Catholic Conference on the Diaconate,  Regina, May 10 – 13.

Lori Stewart and I recently had the opportunity to travel to Regina to attend an ecumenical ‘Anglican – Roman Catholic – Ukrainian Catholic Conference on the Diaconate’. We knew this would be a great opportunity to connect with some of our Anglican colleagues across Canada but also internationally. I had great conversations with Episcopalians from the US, the Scottish Episcopalian Church, British Anglicans, and folks from Halifax to Vancouver.

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Convergence and Divergence – Reflections on the Ecumenical Diaconate

CCS staff Lori Stewart and David Lappano attended the International Anglican-Roman Catholic-Ukrainian Catholic Conference on the Diaconate,  Regina, May 10 – 13.

As one lone United Church person at a conference of Anglicans and Roman Catholics, I might have been lost in the crowd but the fact that the focus was on the diaconate and on ecumenical understanding meant that I had a lot in common with the other participants. There was the additional benefit of meeting people who are influential in the diaconal world: Maylanne Maybee, Phina Borgeson, Rosalind Brown, Brian Butcher, Fritz Bauerschmidt, Gloria Marie Jones, Michael Jackson, Susanne Watson Epting, and Alison Peden, each looking at “the points of convergence as well as divergence” in the understanding of the diaconate in the Anglican and Roman Catholic Communions. The Conference was a joint venture of both churches, the result of a successful, long-term ecumenical collaboration and dialogue in those Saskatchewan dioceses.

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Got privilege? – White Privilege Conference Global

I had the amazing privilege (no pun intended) of attending the White Privilege Conference Global in May, held for the first time in Canada. (It has been held in the U.S. for the past nineteen years). It was an amazing event, and I was delighted that other than school boards, the United Church of Canada seemed to have the largest delegation! We were all able to attend workshops in the morning, and two keynotes speakers per day as well as entertainment that augmented the experience.

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Six reasons to learn at CCS

With the 2017-2018 school year coming to a close, CCS program staff are turning their attention to the upcoming year and six new theme learning circles!  Whether taken as part of formation for diaconal ministry, or as continuing education to deepen your understanding of a topic of interest, these learning circles are a rich opportunity for learning alongside others. Continue reading “Six reasons to learn at CCS”

Building a More Diverse Family

This is an excerpt from the book Times and Tides: BC Conference — an overview 1970–2017.  The chapter “Building a More Diverse Family” was written by CCS Communications staff person, Kimiko Karpoff. 

In some ways my family’s story, my story, is illustrative of the larger story of ethnic and intercultural ministries within the United Church. It is a story of immigration, multiculturalism, and integration.

In September 1963, my grandfather, Rev. Jun Kabayama, was called as the first full-time minister to the Fraser Valley Japanese United Church. In September of 2012, my friend Rev. Yoko Kihara presided at her final service at Fraser Valley Japanese. It was the annual O-Bon or Memorial Service, and it marked not only the end of her ministry there but the winding down of that congregation. They continued to worship for several months with a minister borrowed from the Vancouver Japanese Issei (Japanese speaking) congregation. Six months later, on Easter Sunday 2013, Fraser Valley Japanese officially amalgamated with Northwood United Church. They had shared a building for 50 years before Northwood was created through an earlier amalgamation, but they had only rarely even shared worship together.

My mother Lily is the youngest of Jun and Maki Kabayama’s eight children. She is the daughter of immigrants and a preacher’s kid. My mother was born at the cusp of the Second World War while her father served the Japanese United Church in Ocean Falls. Their family was interned during the war, first at Hastings Park in Vancouver and later in Raymond, Alberta. Like a large majority of Canadians of Japanese descent, she married outside of that culture. She remained active in the United Church her whole life.

Author Kimiko Karpoff with her grandfather Rev. Jun Kabayama at her baptism.

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Learning on Purpose 2018 registration deadline extended

There’s still time to register for 2 weeks of learning in community with the Centre for Christian Studies at the beautiful Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria, BC.  Sign up now for Learning on Purpose 2018!

The CCS website was down for part of this past weekend (too much traffic), so we’re extending our registration deadline to May 15th.  If you were thinking about taking advantage of this opportunity to dive deep into your calling for social justice, spiritual care, education, worship, and theology but didn’t get around to registering, this week is for you! Continue reading “Learning on Purpose 2018 registration deadline extended”

A circle of Right Relations

The Right Relations learning circle gathered from April 19 – 25.  CCS students were joined by students from the Sandy Saulteaux Spiritual Centre, six continuing studies students (both lay and clergy), Elders and special guests.