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 CanadaHelps.org .

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

LDM Testimonial #3

The third in our series of testimonials about why the Leadership Development Module might be for you:

Alice Watson is an Educational Ministry Year student at CCS who attended the LDM in 2009.

“The world and the church needs people healed, encouraged, and internally propelled by the experiential, reflective, interactive, and liberating Centre for Christian Studies program.  This little yellow house in Winnipeg hosts cutting edge education for ministry which combines:

  • a non-judgmental learning environment,
  • a commitment to walk a path of liberation and justice with others and,
  • an allegiance to prayerfulness and worship.

The process involves research, discussion, reflection, is based in community and includes hands-on field work.

The program is NOT dispensable or expendable.  The world needs it.”

For more info about the LDM, visit the CCS website.  Check out the previous testimonials (#1, #2)

Principal Megan McKenzie resigns

It is with sadness that the council met on December 15th and accepted the resignation of Principal Megan McKenzie.   The resignation is effective September 11, 2011 when Megan’s parental leave ends.  Megan has decided to stay at home with Micah and Ridd and take on a supportive role as Jeremy (her partner) returns to school full time.  Megan began the position of Principal of CCS half time beginning October 1st, 2008, and then full time January 2, 2009.  She left CCS in January of 2010 to go on disability when her doctor suggested bed rest for her pregnancy with Ridd.   All is well in Megan’s family, both children are healthy and happy, and we wish Megan and her family happiness as they transition into new changes that they are facing.


Cookies and Carols

There’s something about the smell of warm apple cider that makes a room feel Christmas-y.  That and a bunch of friendly people singing carols and hymns, everything from to “It Came upon the Midnight Clear” and “‘Twas In the Moon of Wintertime” to “Come Now, O God of Peace (O-So-So)” and “No Crowded Eastern Street.”  Thanks to everyone who came out to make the season bright!

Christmas Wedding Cake

This story was passed  on to us by one of our students, Kimiko Karpoff.  It is a re-write of one of her grandmother’s memories from her time in Oyen, Alberta in the early 1940s.  Kimiko’s grandmother, Florence Karpoff, was a deaconess, and later a minister’s wife.  But, as Kimiko says, “her deaconess-ness never really left her.”  Enjoy.

Florence carefully wrapped up the Christmas cake.  She had saved pennies and scraped together enough to purchase precious sugar, fruit and flour to make the cakes.  It was hard during the war.  The minister couldn’t expect to get paid if everyone else in town was just getting by.  Even if they had money, supplies and staples weren’t easy
to get.
 Her children gathered around her legs, eyes round, wanting to eat the cake now but knowing that if they waited it would be even better at Christmas.
  Florence was not surprised to hear a knock at the door; the minister’s family often had callers.  The children followed as she ran to answer it.
 “Is the minister home?”
 An elderly couple stood at the door, wrapped against the November cold.  They were not locals. 
 “He’s not in at the moment, but will be home shortly.  You’re welcome to come in.”
 With her guests seated in the living room, Florence turned back toward the kitchen when she noticed little Jimmy had already climbed onto the gentleman’s lap.  Smiling, he waived away her protest.
 “I like children,” he said.  So Jimmy sat and Florence sat and John, Polly and Teena gathered on the floor around them. And a story unfolded before their eyes.
 Harry and Mary had come to be married by the minister.
 Mary had been Harry’s housekeeper for close
to 40 years.  She was the widow of Harry’s friend Bill, an old school mate from his childhood in Minnesota. 
 Harry’s family had a pioneer place in the 1870’s.  His father was a bum and the fighting household was ruled by his Mother.  She had no time to show her boys affection.  But he remembered always the gentleness he felt from Bill’s mother whenever he went home with Bill.

 Harry had run away to Canada when he was in his mid-teens and had eventually homesteaded near Empress Saskatchewan.  He’d gone back to Minnesota one winter in time to act as Bill’s best man when he married Mary. 
 Over the next five years, luck had fallen hard on Bill.  He lost his farm and had had to work out as hired help.  He and Mary and their two girls lived in a shack on the farmer’s land.  Harry’s homestead, on the other hand, prospered, and he found time to make another trip south to visit his old friend whom he found leading a bleak existence with his family.  Mary was expecting another child in the spring.
 During Harry’s visit, Bill was gored by the farmer’s bull and died.
 At the funeral, Harry listened to conversation of the women preparing the coffee.  The farmer would need new help and would need to have his shack back.  Where would Mary go? they wondered.  She had no family.
 As neigbours left the funeral gathering, Harry stayed.  He wanted to know, was it true, did Mary have to move?  “Yes,” Mary confirmed, “the farmer needs his shed.”
 “Well, I need a housekeeper,” Harry decided right then.  “Come home with me.”
 The next day Harry loaded Mary and the girls and their few possessions into his sleigh and brought them back home to his homestead.
 So in a sense, Bill’s family became Harry’s family.  He set Mary and the girls up in the living room.  It had never had any furniture anyway.  She took over the housekeeping and all waited for the spring baby, a third girl.  Over the next few years Harry added a lean-to onto the house.  Now the girls had a room and so did his hired man. The girls grew up, went to school. Mary had refused to accept wages from Harry having felt that she could expect no more than that he feed the four of them.
 Now, like many farm women, she laid the breakfast table at night — turning upside down the big soup plates ready for oatmeal. Mary soon found that on the first of each month she would find bills under her plate. Harry would say of the money, “Oh, go buy something.” As the girls grew older their plates began to give silver, and then bills. When the girls finished high school Harry sent them to university, one into nursing. “I could afford to,” Harry said.
 When the oldest daughter shared the news that she was marrying a young doctor, Harry thought the old house too shabby for a big wedding. He built a new house and the hired man moved into the old one with his family.
 And so the years went on. Each daughter was married with Harry giving away the bride. Each of Mary’s grandchildren had been welcomed.
 Last fall Mary’s eldest daughter and her doctor husband had come home to visit. She embraced her mother and then stood back to look at her. “Mother, what is the matter? Are you sick?” Mary was evasive. She was really just tired, she said. “You know, since the war we’ve taken on another hired man. They’re both older so it takes two to do the work of one. But it makes three men to cook for and wash for and many things are hard to get,” and on she went.
 For the first time Harry looked at Mary and saw a frail, white-haired woman. He suddenly realized that he, too, was a white-haired old man. Before the week was out he went to town and returned with a “girl” to help out.
 This spurred a question among the neighbours. “Does Harry need a housekeeper to help out his housekeeper now?” When this filtered back to Mary she was mortified. She announced that she better try to find a place in the little nearby town. Perhaps the girls could give her a bit of money to help out.
 Harry had another idea. “Let’s get married, Mary. Frankly, after forty years, home wouldn’t be home without you.” After much discussion, Mary agreed. They had their license and here they were.
 Just then, Florence’s husband Ted, the minister, arrived. 
 “I’ll go next door and get Claira,” Florence said. “She can act with me as one of the witnesses. Come,” she said to the children, thinking to take them across the road with her. Harry, smiling at his new friend Jimmy said “Let them stay.”
 And so the wedding proceeded. When the ceremony was over, Ted announced, “You may now kiss the bride.” Harry leaned down and kissed Mary heartily. Beaming at the minister’s family gathered around he said, “That’s the first time I ever kissed her.” Mary smiled. “That’s not true,” she said. “You kissed me on the day I married Bill.” “That would only have been a peck, not a real kiss like this,” he said and kissed her again.
 Florence slipped out of the room to put on coffee. On the counter were the cakes she had just wrapped for Christmas. When she carried the plate in, Mary knew exactly what she’d done and protested. But Christmas cake was now wedding cake and the children got their wish of not waiting to Christmas to taste it.
 As Mary and Harry collected their coats and prepared to leave, Florence wrapped up the rest of the cake and slipped it into Mary’s hands. Mary smiled. “Now I’ll have a piece of wedding cake to share with our girls when we go into Saskatoon next week to tell them,” she said. The bill Harry pressed into Ted’s hand was enough to pay for  supplies for several Christmas cakes. If they could get the sugar.

Advent Candle Prayers

Here are some advent candle prayers I wrote a number of years ago. They won’t be much use for this year but maybe some other time.

Advent 1 – Hope

Luke 1: 35-38, Matthew 1:20-23, Luke 1: 46-55, Luke 1: 76-79

Advent is a time of waiting.
With anticipation, we await the coming birth.
With expectation, we await a coming fulfilment of justice and compassion.
With hope, we await the coming of Emmanuel; God with us.

Advent is a time of preparation.
With anticipation, we prepare ourselves for re-birth and renewal.
With expectation, we prepare for the promise of peace on earth.
With hope, we prepare to be God’s incarnate love for the world.

During this cold time of the year,
the daylight grows shorter.
We light this candle as a sign of hope.
The sun will return.

During this festive time of the year,
we are aware that many, in this season, are lost and lonely.
We light this candle as a sign of hope.
Despair is not the final word.

During this joyous time of the year,
we are aware that much, in our world, is broken.
We light this candle as a sign of hope.
The promise of Christmas will not be broken.

(lighting of the first Advent candle)

Advent 2 – Peace
Luke 1: 12-13, Luke 1: 76-79, Luke 1: 26-30, Luke 2: 13-14

We light this candle remembering the song of the angels.
Glory to God…
We light this candle knowing there is not peace in our world.
…and on earth peace.
We light this candle hoping some day there will be peace.
Glory to God…
We light this candle knowing in many homes there is not safety.
…and on earth peace.
We light this candle hoping for a safe space for everyone.
Glory to God…
We light this candle committing ourselves to peace-creating,
to justice-making,
and shaping a world that is filled with love.
Glory to God and on earth peace.

(lighting of the second Advent candle)

Advent 3 – Joy
Luke 1:13-14, Luke 1: 39-44, Matthew 2: 9-10, Luke 2: 8-11

With music and song,
with laughter and mirth,
with movement and dance,
Let us celebrate the source of joy,
the spirit of life who will be born in our midst.

With stillness and prayer,
with wisdom and depth,
with passion and heart,
Let us celebrate the source of joy,
the spirit of life who will be born in our midst.

With action and care,
with service and love,
with respect and grace,
Let us celebrate the source of joy,
the spirit of life who will be born in our midst.

In the midst of planning and rushing,
in the midst of shopping and feasting,
in the midst of worshipping and candle-lighting,
Let us celebrate the source of joy,
the spirit of life who will be born in our midst.

(lighting of the third Advent candle)

Advent 4 – Love
Luke 1:26-28, Matthew 1: 20-23, Matthew 2: 11, Luke 2: 15-20

In the song of the angels: Mystery.
In the awe of the shepherds: Wonder.
In the birth of the child: Grace.
We light this candle remembering the love of God.

In the voice of concern: Compassion.
In the hand of friendship: Support.
In the relationship of trust: Care.
We light this candle remembering the love incarnate in others.

In the cry of the oppressed: Liberation.
In the tears of the vulnerable: Justice.
In the rage of the violated: Peace.
We light this candle remembering the love needed in the world.

We light this candle remembering we are called to love God.
We light this candle remembering we are called to love our neighbour.

(lighting of the fourth Advent candle)

2011 Companion of the Centre announced.

The recipient of the 2011 “Companion of the Centre” award will be Mary Ellen Moore.  The award will be presented at CCS’s Annual Service of Celebration on April 3, 2011.

Mary Ellen attended Covenant College, graduating in 1964 and was designated deaconess the same year. Her husband, Ralph, was ordained as a United Church minister and settled in Newfoundland. In 1970 they returned for a year to Toronto, where Mary Ellen worked at the United Church national office while her husband studied at the Centre for Christian Studies. They returned to a new appointment in Labrador City, but three years later her husband was tragically killed in a car accident. With her daughter Heather, Mary Ellen returned to Ontario, studied at Emmanuel College and was ordained in 1978 and settled in Alberta. She served in several congregations in Alberta, and retired in 2004 from Sunnybrook United Church in Red Deer where she still lives. She remains active in retirement, including involvement as an active member of the Stephen Lewis Foundation through the ‘GrammaLink Africa’ program.

Throughout her ministry Mary Ellen has been a good listener and educator, with involvement at local, presbytery and national levels of her church. She exhibits deep care and compassion for others – in the church community and beyond.

Mary Ellen has been supportive of the Centre over the years, serving as a mentor, and most recently part of the Endowment Fund Campaign.

“It Gets Better”

Patrick Woodbeck from Rainbow Ministries will be speaking at CCS’s “Mindful Munchin'” event on January 21 2011.  He will be discussing the “It Gets Better” campaign, and the role of the United Church.  There will be more information to come.

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.

Another LDM testimonial

Joan Kennedy attended the Leadership Development Module in 2010, and is headed toward a ministry of Word, Sacrament, and Pastoral Care.

I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in the Centre for Christian Studies’ Leadership Development Module this past summer in Calgary. As a Candidate for Ordination, I found the content and practice of leadership invaluable as I enter congregational ministry as Student Supply. Learning together as part of this community for 12 days was a very affirming and enlightening experience for me. Consider the LDM as part of your theological education plans.”
Joan Kennedy, Grande Prairie, AB

Is CCS’s Leadership Development Module for you?

We Are All Treaty People!

Come and learn more about:

  • the spirit and the intent of the treaties
  • the historic and contemporary issues
  • implications for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal People

Speaker: Jeff Harris from the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba

Wednesday, December 8 7:00 p.m.

Room 3M71 – Manitoba Hall, 3rd floor, University of Winnipeg

This event was initiated as follow-up to an Mindful Munchin’ event sponsored by the Centre for Christian Studies in October. The Very Reverend Dr. Stan McKay (Elder, and former Moderator of The United Church of Canada) spoke about “Truth and Reconciliation: Where do we go from here?” He shared reflections on next steps in the path toward healing and reconciliation for residential school survivors and for the Church and on what must be done now so that we all can live as “treaty people”.

Organized by a group of people working for „right relationship‟ between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, including representatives of:

  • Centre for Christian Studies
  • Faculty of Theology, University of Winnipeg
  • Immanuel United Church
  • St. Matthew’s Anglican Church
  • St. Stephen’s Anglican Church

More info…