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”.

When I Called, You Answered Me…

Psalm 138:3

Our goal for raising funds this year was $200,000. We reached our goal and to those of you who made a contribution, we thank you for your generous gift. However, we would not have been able to achieve this goal if it hadn’t been for our very generous anonymous contributor.

It’s not too late to make a 2010 donation to CCS. If making a contribution to the centre has slipped your mind…NO WORRIES…you still have time to make a donation through mail or though .

Food for Thought

Today after our staff meeting we all sat down to enjoy a lunch provided by an anonymous donor. This has happened a number of times before around the Christmas season – the folks at Food For Thought (a local catering company) phone us up to tell us that someone has donated a lunch to the staff at CCS and when would we like it?

It was “food for thought” in a number of ways. It got us thinking about generosity and gratitude and how nice it is just to know that someone’s thinking about you. And in our prayers at morning worship, as well as thinking of friends and community-members who are struggling, we remembered with thanks all the people who supported CCS in various ways over the past year. This week Ted is doing some preparatory work for the multi-faith component in the Spring Learning Circle by making connections with some of the faith communities our students will be visiting, and so was reflecting on the gift of hospitality he receives when he visits various temples and houses of worship, and trying to be a gracious guest.

The lunch was lovely, by the way. And it feels like a good way to begin a new year – with food and friends and gratitude.

Christmas Silliness

Some Christmas silliness,
and on a more sincere note:

God grant you the light in Christmas which is faith;
the warmth of Christmas, which is love;
the radiance of Christmas, which is purity;
the righteousness of Christmas, which is justice;
the belief in Christmas, which is truth.

Charlotte visits Alberta

In early December Charlotte spent the week in Alberta.  The Deans and Principals of United Church related schools held their annual meeting with United Church Staff in Edmonton, hosted by St. Stephen’s College.   The meeting gave opportunity for hearing news about what is happening at other schools and at the national church.  The mood of the meeting was positive.  Charlotte was able to report our good enrollment of students and to talk about the important work we do for the church in preparation for Diaconal Ministry.  We will watch with interest and give input as possible to the Candidacy Pathway work that is now going on at the national church.

Following that meeting, she visited with some diaconal ministers in Red Deer.  A wonderful part of that time was announcing to the congregation at Sunnybrook United Church that Mary Ellen Moore has been chosen as next year’s Companion of the Centre.  The congregation broke into spontaneous applause and faces lit up at the news!   Mary Ellen was a greeter and scripture reader at the service, and people were very pleased with CCS’s decision.  We look forward to the celebration in early April when the ceremony will take place


Update on our Annual Campaign

Glenda has been updating you on a regular basis about the fall financial campaign.  But today we make an official announcement about a very generous donor who gave a large gift of company shares to CCS.  On the day of transfer the shares were valued at $147,000.  The donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, heard of our financial stresses and responded.  Our gratitude is overflowing!

What does this mean for CCS?

First, it means we will likely end this year without a deficit for the first time in many years.  The gift was split so that $100,000 is for the Operating Fund and the rest for the Endowment Fund.

Secondly, the money given to the Operating Account allows time for the Futures Task Group’s recommendations to be implemented, for the United Church to determine how money saved from ceasing to fund four UCC schools will be distributed (and whether CCS will be a recipient of some extra UCC money), and for us to seek other funding options.

Thirdly, it means our Endowment Fund has an added bonus that increases the amount we can draw from the endowment over the long run. This year we were able to draw $96,000 from Endowment to cover Operating Expenses.  We hope that soon, due to this kind of generous donor, a full quarter of our yearly expenses will come from endowment transfers.

What does this mean to you?

· First, it means you can be confident that your dollars invested in CCS will pay off!  We do excellent education and the churches need our work.  This donation ensures our viability through a challenging time.  Your regular donations will see us through in the long run.  We know that you care about CCS and its future and we encourage you to keep giving.

Secondly, this donation offers a creative option.  We occasionally receive gifts of shares, of bequests or life insurance policies, and of other forms of assets.  What do you have that you could give to CCS?  Call Glenda Knoll to discuss options that you might be considering.

Thirdly, you can offer prayers of thanksgiving for all gifts of generosity.  In this Christmas season, we give thanks for the smallest gift—a baby come into our midst.  That baby made a big difference.  Each gift, large or small that is given with generous spirit makes the world a better place.  So we give thanks for a special large donation; we give thanks for each small gift; we give thanks for God’s generous gift of love in Jesus Christ this holy season.

May you know the depth of God’s love this Christmas!

– Charlotte Caron, Acting Principal