Arts & Hospitality reminder

Reminder: The guest for tomorrow’s Mindful Munchin’ talk is barb janes.  She will be talking about how churches can provide hospitality for artists and the arts.  11:45 am to 1:00 pm at the Centre for Christian Studies (60 Maryland Street, Winnipeg, MB).

Black History Month

From Wednesday morning staff worship, February 9, 2011 
The first recorded person of African heritage to set foot in what would become Canada arrived on our shores some 400 years ago. It is believed that, in 1604, Mathieu Da Costa arrived with the French explorers Pierre Du Gua De Monts and Samuel de Champlain.
Slavery existed in Canada from 1628.  Upper Canada, now Ontario, was a pioneer in the movement to end slavery.  In 1793 Governor John Graves Simcoe passed the Anti-slavery Act. This law freed slaves aged 25 and over and made it illegal to bring slaves into Upper Canada, which became a safe haven for runaway slaves.
In 1779, in an effort to win the War of American Independence, the British invited all black men, women and children to join the British cause and win their freedom for doing so. Many accepted the invitation, and as a result 10 percent of the United Empire Loyalists coming into the Maritimes were Black.
Between 1800 and 1865, approximately 20,000 black people escaped to British North America via the Underground Railroad.
In 1858, nearly 800 free black people left the oppressive racial conditions of San Francisco for a new life on Vancouver Island. Governor James Douglas had invited them to settle in British Columbia. Though still faced with intense discrimination, these pioneers enriched the political, religious and economic life of the colony. For example, Mifflin Gibbs became a prominent politician, Charles and Nancy Alexander initiated the Shady Creek Methodist Church, and John Deas established a salmon cannery. The group also formed one of the earliest colonial militia units, the Victoria Pioneer Rifle Corps.
During the First World War, patriotic black Canadians attempted to join combat units but were prevented. However, they still contributed to the war effort. In 1916, a segregated battalion made up of black Canadians, the Number 2 Construction Battalion, was formed. It was responsible for crucial work building bridges, digging trenches and clearing roads.
In the Second World War, black Canadians’ persistent efforts to join the armed forces was rewarded with success and they went on to serve with distinction in all branches of the military.
According to the 2001 Census, 662,215 Canadians identified themselves as Blacks. The majority of black Canadians live in five Canadian cities. As of 2001, Toronto, Montréal, Ottawa-Gatineau, Vancouver and Halifax were home to approximately 78.4 percent of all black Canadians. The black population of Canada is made of people from all over the world—multigenerational Canadians and recent immigrants. 

And so this morning we give thanks for black sisters and brothers who have helped make Canada what it is today.
Let us give thanks for:
The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander, from Hamilton, Ontario, World War II veteran, lawyer and the first black person to become a Member of Parliament in 1968 and served in the House of Commons until 1980. He was also federal Minister of Labour in 1979–1980. In 1985, Lincoln Alexander was appointed Ontario’s 24th Lieutenant Governor, the first member of a visible minority to serve as the Queen’s representative in Canada.
For the The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander and all who serve in parliament, we give thanks!
The Honourable Jean Augustine, the first black Canadian woman elected to Parliament, introduced the bill to officially recognized February as Black History Month in December 1995.  The motion was carried unanimously by the House of Commons.
For the Honourable Jean Augustine and all who introduce bills to right historic oversights and wrongs, we give thanks!
Carrie Best was born in 1903 in Halifax. In 1946, Mrs. Best founded The Clarion, the first Black-owned and published Nova Scotia newspaper. Her radio show, called The Quiet Corner, aired for 12 years and was broadcast on four radio stations throughout Canada’s Maritime Provinces. In 1968, she was hired as a columnist for the Pictou Advocate, a newspaper based in Pictou, Nova Scotia. The column ran until 1975 under the heading of “Human Rights.”
For Carrie Best, and all who broadcast and publish for Human Rights, we give thanks!
Thornton and Lucie Blackburn were fugitive slaves from Kentucky who originally settled in Detroit. However, their former owner tracked them down there and tried to return them to slavery. In a highly publicized escape that left Detroit engulfed in riots, the Blackburns were able to make it to Canada. The Canadian Courts defended them against the threat of extradition. This was seen nationally and internationally as a symbol of Upper Canada’s role as a safe haven for black refugees. The Blackburns worked tirelessly in their new community of Toronto for the abolition of slavery and to help other Underground Railroad refugees settle in Canada.
For Thornton and Lucy Blackburn, and all who help refugees, we give thanks!
Anne Clare Cools was born in 1943 in Barbados, West Indies. A pioneer in addressing domestic and family violence, in 1974 she founded one of Canada’s first women’s shelters, Women in Transition Inc., and was its Executive Director. Recommended by Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, she was summoned to the Senate in January 1984, becoming the first black person in the Senate of Canada and first black female senator in North America.
For Senator Anne Clare Cools and all who have immigrated to Canada and served politically to shape our country, we give thanks!
Mathieu Da Costa arrived with the French explorers Pierre Du Gua De Monts and Samuel de Champlain 1604. Da Costa, a free man, worked as an interpreter, providing an invaluable link with the Mik’maq people encountered by the Europeans.  His name is the first name of a black person recorded in Canada’s history.
For Mathieu Da Costa, and all those who came but will forever remain nameless, we give thanks!
Viola Davis Desmond was an African-Canadian who ran her own beauty parlor and beauty college in Halifax. On November 8, 1946, she decided to go see a movie in the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow. She refused to sit in the balcony, which was designated exclusively for Blacks. Instead, she sat on the ground floor, which was for Whites only. She was forcibly removed and arrested. Viola was found guilty of not paying the one-cent difference in tax on the balcony ticket. She was sentenced to 30 days in jail and paid a $26 fine. The trial mainly focused on the issue of tax evasion and not on the discriminatory practices of the theatre. Dissatisfied with the verdict, the Nova Scotia Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, with Viola’s help, took the case to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. The conviction was upheld.  But on April 15, 2010, the province of Nova Scotia granted an official apology and a free pardon to Viola. Viola’s 83-year-old sister, Wanda Robson, was there to accept the apology. Premier Darrell Dexter also apologized to Viola’s family and all black Nova Scotians for the racism she was subjected to in an incident he called unjust.
For Viola Davis Desmond, and all blacks who have suffered unjust treatment in Canadian courts, we offer our regret.
The Very Rev. Dr. Wilbur Howard was the first Black Moderator of The United Church of Canada, 1974-1977. The church is grateful for the contributions of Dr. Howard, and many other African Canadians, for their role in shaping our life and ministry.
For Wilbur Howard, and all black ministers and members of the United Church of Canada, we give thanks!
Michaëlle Jean, journalist and stateswoman, served as the 27th Governor General of Canada. Jean was a refugee from Haiti, coming to Canada in.  After receiving a number of university degrees, Jean worked as a journalist and broadcaster for CBC, as well as undertaking charity work, mostly in the field of assisting victims of domestic violence.
For Michaelle Jean, and all who live as role models for young black Canadians, we give thanks!
Michael Lee-Chin first came to Canada in the early 1970s to attend McMaster University. After earning a civil engineering degree he returned to his native Jamaica to work, but was soon back in Canada. In 1987, he bought Advantage Investment Counsel, now AIC Limited, one of the country’s biggest mutual-fund companies with assets of more than 12 billion dollars.  Michael Lee-Chin is also known as a philanthropist. In 2003, he made headlines when he donated $30 million to the Royal Ontario Museum.
For Michael Lee-Chin and all who live with generous spirits, we give thanks!
Elijah McCoy, born in Ontario, showed an early interest in machines and tools and an aptitude for mechanics. His parents sent him to Edinburgh, Scotland to study mechanical engineering.  He worked on the railroad where he developed and patented a particular type of lubricating cup that dripped oil onto the moving parts of a train while it was in motion. It is said that buyers of the lubricating oil cup asked specifically for the “Real McCoy” because it was extremely reliable and they wanted no substitutes. That was just one of the more than 50 products he developed and patented. For example, in response to his wife’s desire for an easier way to iron clothes, he invented and patented the portable ironing board.
For Elijah McCoy and all who invent things that make hard work easier, we give thanks!
On January 18, 1958, Willie O’Ree stepped on the ice at the Montreal Forum to play his first game in the NHL for the Boston Bruins — and made history as the first black player in the NHL.  He was known for his speed and checking abilities, but his career was cut short by an injury.  Today, Willie O’Ree is the director of the NHL’s diversity program. He travels across Canada and the United States promoting and teaching the game of hockey to children from all cultural backgrounds.
For Willie O’Ree and all who break through barriers of race in sports, we give thanks!
Harriet Tubman, a runaway slave from Maryland, became known as the “Moses” of her people and the “conductor” who led hundreds of slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad. In 1850, when the far-reaching United States Fugitive Law was passed, she guided fugitive slaves further north into Canada. When angry slave owners posted rewards for her capture, she continued her work despite great personal risk.  St. Catharines, Ontario was on the route and offered employment opportunities, making it a common destination for the former fugitives, including Harriet Tubman, who lived there from 1851 to 1857. Many of the people she rescued were relatives of those already in St. Catharines including her own parents, brothers and sisters and their families.
For Harriet Tubman and all who worked for the Underground Railway, we give thanks!
Portia White embarked on her stellar singing career at her father’s Baptist Church in Halifax. Before she began singing professionally, she supported her musical career by teaching in rural black schools in Halifax County, and eventually made her professional debut in Toronto. Soon afterwards, she performed in New York City to rave reviews.  Portia White went on to international success, performing more than 100 concerts, including a command performance before Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
For Portia White and all who open hearts though song, we give thanks!
AnWe pray in thanks for all the many contributions of black Canadians to our culture and we pray in hope for an end to racism and racial barriers in this country.
We pray also for CCS in our work to expose racism and to live in unity across boundaries.

We pray, O God, trusting that your reign of wholeness will come!

MV # 209 – Go Make a Difference

CCS Annual General Meeting

 The Centre for Christian Studies’ AGM will be held Wednesday, March 2, 2011 from 6-8 pm CST.  The meeting will be held by conference call (unless you live in Winnipeg, in which case you are invited to the CCS offices at 60 Maryland St.).

The gathering will include worship, business (receipt of reports, and election of officers), and a fun quiz about happenings at CCS. The meeting is geared to Friends of the Centre – that is, people who are supporters as volunteers, donors, field educators, ambassadors, readers of the CCS emails, and generally anyone who wants to share in a couple of hours with other wonderful people. It is the time when the Council and staff are accountable to the constituency. The Annual Report will be available on the website one week before the meeting.

Please register ahead by emailing Charlotte Caron or phoning Liz at 204-783-4490. When you register we will send you the information about how to join the Conference call. Those in Winnipeg are invited to 60 Maryland St.

Donalda Jardine (1908-2011)

The oldest living graduate of the Centre for Christian Studies (United Church Training School at the time of her graduation) has died at the age of 103 years. Born in Centre Napan, New Brunswick, Donalda Jardine became a teacher and principal of New Brunswick Schools until 1936 when she entered the United Church Training School with the hope (as per her application) of becoming “better fitted for the work winning the world for Christ.” Donalda graduated in 1937 and worked as a Women’s Missionary Society Worker and Deaconess in the United Church of Canada. She especially enjoyed her work with youth and at summer camps. Donalda remained a friend of CCS. In her file, we have a lovely letter acknowledging her delight in receiving a scroll of messages prepared by folks celebrating the 2007 graduation ceremonies of CCS that wished her well on the 70th anniversary of her graduation. It was a very moving experience for all of us who signed the scroll and felt connected to her through UCTS/CCS. A photo of Donalda with Charlotte Caron taken in November 2010 appeared in an earlier email update. We give thanks for Donalda’s life and for the Christian witness she offered in it.

Search Result “Fun”

Reflection by Charlotte:

It is Monday morning. Coffee in hand, I opened the CCS website this morning to get a piece of information I needed. I was taken aback to see an ad by google on our search results page offering sexual “fun.” This was not what I was looking for! Scott has now discovered a way to eliminate ads from our site because we are in the non-profit/university category. So hopefully I will not have to get into a Monday morning grump up about hot ads again! At least not on the CCS website.

But once again I think about how much in the world of advertising offends me. In-my-face ads on the internet, on billboards, on TV inviting, urging, manipulating me to behaviours and products that I do not either want or need. Advertisements that are distasteful or cross the line to quite offensive. Advertisements that suggest such things are Ok and desirable, that use and abuse people, that have destructive consequences and that frequently sexualize girls and women in unhealthy ways.

Yesterday’s scripture called us to be light to the world. As Christian people we are called to bring light to situations that need change. While CCS may be able to get an exemption from sexualized google ads (for which I am very grateful), not all can or choose to. So we need to bring to light the kind of ads that need to be changed, to name what we see as wrong with them, to persist in enlightening the world for goodness. A little light goes a long way! May you and I be and bring light to the world!

Groundhog’s Day Liturgy

From this morning’s staff worship at CCS:

Hymn: All Creatures of Our God (Voices United #217)
All creatures of our God, come sing,
with hoof and scale and fur and wing:
Hallelujah, hallelujah!
Bright burning sun with golden beam,
soft shining moon with silver gleam,
sing praises, sing praises,
hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!

Enter the caves of the rocks
and the holes of the ground
from the fearful glory of God’s majesty
when God rises to shake the earth.
On that day people will throw to the groundhogs
their idols of silver and gold. (Isa 2:19-20)

Justice is far from us,
and righteousness does not reach us.
We wait for light, and lo! there is darkness;
for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows. (Isa 59:9)

At that time the great protector of the people, will arise.
Everyone whose name is found written in the book will be delivered.
Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake.
Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens. (Dan 12:1-3)

For once you were shadows,
But now in God you are light.
Live as children of light.
“Sleepers, awake!
Rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.” (Eph 5:8&14)

My beloved spoke and said to me,
 “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one.
See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
is heard in our land.” (Song of Solomon 2:10-12)

Reflection: How to you keep your spirit alive in the waiting time?

Good God Almighty, it’s cold!
It’s a miracle that we survive at all.
Don’t let our hearts be frozen.
Make us conscious in the cold
of those who shiver for want of kindness, justice and compassion.

Groundhog of All Being,
Wake us from our hibernation
at least long enough to recognize the world around.
Let us not shirk from our shadows,
but rather face the unresolved.
Let us confront those things that need changing
and accept the things that simply are.
Don’t let us rush back to sleep prematurely.

O you who descended into the earth,
and rose again with the dawn,
Open our eyes to light,
even the cold crisp light of winter.
Let it awaken in us irrational hope,
the unreasonable possibility of spring in the depth of winter,
the possibility of kindness in a world desperate for warmth.

God of the meantime,
Let us huddle together while we wait,
let us nestle and dream, reach out to each other
and comfort each other in the warmth of our prayers.

(Prayer cycles and prayers for specific people)

From deep inside our burrows
we call out for you.
Hear our chirps and growls and snores,
and in your love answer.

Hymn: Joy Comes With the Dawn (Voices United #166) 

Mindful Munchin’: The Arts and Hospitality

The guest speaker for February’s Mindful Munchin’ event will be United Church minister and artist barb janes.  She spent her recent sabbatical exploring ways that churches can offer hospitality to the arts.  She is working on a McGeachy scholarship on Inviting Wonder.  On March 16th she will be at CCS to ask, How might churches expand as places of sacred experience by using our gifts of space and hospitality for local creative communities?  Bring a bag lunch and join the discussion.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 from 11:45 am to 1:00 pm.  RSVP to Glenda. ( )  Download a poster.

Patrick Woodbeck Podcast

Last Friday, Patrick Woodbeck of Winnipeg’s Rainbow Ministry, spoke to a group as part of CCS’s regular “Mindful Munchin'” lunchtime lecture series.  His topic was the “It Gets Better” campaign and the role of the church in supporting GLBT youth (and others) who experience bullying.

The audio podcast of this presentation is now available.  Just right-click on the link below (ctrl-click if you’re on Mac without a right click button) and choose “Save target as…”  Or you can just click the link and it will play in your browser.  The podcast is a 37:52 minutes MP3 (17.3 MB).

It Gets Better: The Church’s Role

The podcast doesn’t include the comments, questions, and discussion with the audience.  The video clip that was shown as part of Patrick’s presentation can be found on the It Gets Better website.

Where Do They Go From Here?

The Centre for Christian Studies is about preparing women and men for ministry.  You may be curious where students end up after they graduate.  In the last decade over seventy CCS grads have entered into a variety of forms of diaconal ministry.

  • Many serve in rural congregations (34).
  • A number minister in urban teams (16).
  • Some have positions in community outreach ministry (3).
  • A few work with First Nations communities (3).
  • Two or three have primary responsibility in youth ministry.
  • Two or three are working as Conference staff.
  • One is pursuing further academic studies.

Hear about the work of some our grads from the class of 2008 have been up to!

Kathy Douglas, Youth Minister
Huron-Perth Presbytery, Blyth, ON

I have been in the full time position of Presbytery Youth Minister for over 2 years now.  I could not have envisioned a more perfect diaconal fit for me.  My work seems generally to divide into three categories.  I work directly with youth in programming and spiritual development.  I participate as a member and resource for several community agencies; this work often helps to foster bridges between church and local community.  Finally, I support the 60 plus congregations in the presbytery, through worship services, confirmation classes, youth leaders support events, local camp work and resource consultations.
On a regular basis, I am creating, preparing, facilitating and evaluating by involving and listening to both adults and youth who help me to plan my work.  Thanks, to CCS, for the fantastic ‘teaching /sharing/ encouraging’ that prepared me for this work.

Keith Simmonds, Team Minister
Communities in Faith, Trail, BC

In 2009, I was placed in a team ministry with a four point pastoral charge in the Kootenays of British Columbia.  Team ministry in a four point pastoral charge, in changing times demands all of the requirements of ‘traditional ministry’ (worship design and leadership; sacramental ministry and pastoral care), and a grounding in: social systems; interpersonal dynamics; learning styles; group facilitation; workshop design; community organizing and making space for other voices to be heard.  Fortunately, I went to CCS where I was grounded in the basics of all of the above, and confirmed in the blessings of my own experience.

Marilyn Shaw, Community Minister
Kitchener, Ontario

I minister in a Lutheran and United church partnership outreach ministry in downtown Kitchener. I was settled in the position I held prior to graduating from CCS.
My CCS experience enables me to deepen how I minister with people through the experiential learning style which I use especially in my roles of advocacy and education. Working collaboratively with other students, mentors, facilitators etc strengthened my sense of who I am and the gifts I bring to ministry and how I can use them as I journey with and empower others.

Tracy Fairfield, Christian Education Minister
Delta, BC

CCS prepared me extensively for team ministry and I am grateful for that.  After graduation, I moved from Ottawa to rural Saskatchewan where I worked in team ministry helping to lead pastoral ministry: preaching about twice a month, sharing children’s times as well as pastoral care, weddings, baptisms, funerals and weddings. I also discovered my inner polity geek!  I became involved in presbytery and national committees. I’ve also been studying part time to finish my MA with the University of Winnipeg.  I’ve managed to find time to meet my life partner and then relocate to be with her and her boys in Delta, BC. I am currently working in another team ministry doing Christian Education.

If you are thinking about ministry, the Leadership Development Module may be the place to explore your interest.  Or maybe you know someone with gifts for ministry.  Give them a tap on the shoulder.

Glenda leaving CCS

Glenda Knoll, CCS’s Community Resource Coordinator, is moving on.  She has taken a job with the Mosaic Newcomer Resource Network, working with new Canadians, especially women and children.  She will continue working at CCS in the afternoons until February.

We will miss her warmth and friendliness, and we know that the folks at Mosaic will appreciate her gifts.  Best of luck, Glenda.

Mindful Munchin’: It Gets Better

This Friday, January 21st, Patrick Woodbeck from Rainbow Ministry will be at CCS on January 21st as part of our Mindful Munchin’ series.  His topic is the “It Gets Better” campaign and what the church’s role could look like.  Bring a lunch and plan to attend from 11:45 – 1:00pm.  (Give Glenda a call at 783-4490 to let her know you’re coming, just so we know how many chairs to put out.)

If you haven’t heard of “It Gets Better”, it’s a project designed to combat the high levels of despair and suicide among LGBT youth and people who have experienced bullying based on their perceived sexuality by spreading the word that love and friendship and support and accepatance IS possible.  Check out the It Gets Better website.  (The video below is just one of the thousands of messages of hope that have been posted since the project began.)

If you can’t make this Mindful Munchin’, the next one will be on February 16th.  Our guest will be barb janes from Crescent Fort Rouge United Church and the topic will be “The Arts and Hospitality”.