Community, Grief, and Learning: An Interview with Brenda Curtis and Keith Hall
On April 6, 2018, the bus of the Humbolt Broncos hockey team collided with a semi truck. Sixteen people died, including team statistician Brody Hinz. CCS graduate Brenda Curtis and Integration Year student Keith Hall conducted Brody’s memorial service. Janet Ross spoke to Brenda and Keith about that time.
Brenda: When the first reports came in about the bus crash we were in the middle of an ecumenical community concert at the Catholic Church with the Watoto Children’s Choir from Uganda. The choir had just stepped on stage and was beginning with a countdown: 10, 9, 8, … when someone showed me their cell phone – “Humboldt Broncos have been in an accident”. The choir sang a few songs but soon everyone in the audience had their cell phones out. By 8:15 pm we knew there were fatalities and that they were significant. The choir was asked to wrap up quickly and Father Joseph offered a prayer, naming the uncertainty of knowing about the fatalities. Everyone was invited to go to the Uniplex to wait together for more news. It was interesting that we were all at this concert, including our ecumenical ministerial group, and could all be at the Uniplex together. When we arrived, the city of Humboldt already had counsellors and many support people in place. Continue reading “Community, Grief, and Learning: walking together to remember Brody”
Diane Trollope is a retired diaconal minister in Ontario.
The warmth is releasing us very slowly
into the era of cool air and colour.
It has been very hot!
Many are facing challenges not asked for after
the horror of fires, floods and loss of life.
We need to love!
Alana Martin is a current student at CCS. Her mother, Martha Martin, a diaconal minister, graduated from the Centre in 1998. Courageous Risking, the 2018 gathering of DUCC (Diakonia of the United Church of Canada) happened in Winnipeg this past April.
Taking part in several nights of the DUCC Conference was so beneficial. First, spending time with my mom was life-giving! She was having an amazing time introducing me to all of her colleagues and former classmates. And second, when the ‘seasoned DUCCs’ reminisced about their program and their work over the years, I was able to listen in. That’s when I learned the most. So many of them had struggled throughout their careers in ministry to be recognized equally, to be heard, and to be appreciated in their diaconal roles. It is through their hard work and trail blazing that the journey has been relatively painless for me – but that struggle is still underlying the work I do and am preparing for. So, much has changed, and they changed it! But much is still the same. Continue reading “Mother, daughter DUCCs”
The essayist Joseph Joubert wrote “To teach is to learn twice.” The same could be said for the role of a mentor, one who facilitates learning through accompaniment and encouragement. CCS graduate Kathy Douglas had this experience as she mentored two diaconal ministry students this past year. “It is always wonderful to find work in ministry that excited, invites and deepens the life experience,” she said. “Mentoring students at CCS has been this kind of fulfilling practice for me.”
A diaconal mentor accompanies students as they explore the role of, and their own identity as a diaconal minister. A mentor will engage the student in reflection on their own learnings from field placements, learning circles, external courses and life. They’ll dig into theological issues and encourage analysis through the lenses of justice and compassion.
French language lessons took me to St. Boniface in the early part of the summer, where I picked up a small brochure that unfolded to a good sized map of the prairie provinces titled “Sentiers de 1885” or “Trails of 1885. It showed sites that were significant in the Northwest Resistance of 1885.
At the same time, my partner, Paul, was reading a novel called Lord of the Plains: the story of Gabriel Dumont, his wife Madelaine, and the great Northwest Rebellion by Alfred Silver (published by Ballantine Books in 1990), which I also read.
These two converging experiences led us to focus our one-week holiday around the events of the Northwest Resistance of 1885 in what we dubbed the “Rebellion Road Trip”. We wanted to learn more about this part of Canadian history that had been hidden from us. Continue reading “Reflections on the Rebellion Road Trip”
During General Council 43, various people will be reporting on what’s happening, sharing moments and offering their reflections. Tammy Allan and Marlene Britton-Walfall share sites, insights, music and a new Moderator is elected.
Another couple of days have passed. Yesterday we dealt with business in the morning and then had the afternoon for excursion tours to see some of the area beyond Durham College campus. Several tours were organized, and I chose a winery tour to Prince Edward County. Beautiful countryside, lots of trees, the beach, all made for a great drive. Oh, yes, and there was wine. Lovely.
During General Council 43, various people will be reporting on what’s happening, sharing moments and offering their reflections. Marlene Britton-Walfall gathers with DUCCs and annoints while the Jenga towers fall.
Greetings from Marlene.
Lunchtime on Tuesday was filled with laughter and animated discussion as the DUCCs at GC43 gathered. It was a wonderful time of fellowship, made possible by Marcie, who not only found the space for us, but erected tell tale signs:
During General Council 43, various people will be reporting on what’s happening, sharing moments and offering their reflections. Marlene Britton-Walfall* reminds us that amongst the fun there is challenge and hard work.
It’s the morning of the 4th day of this meeting in OshaWow!
Devotions this morning challenged us to reflect on times when your boat has been buffeted by waves of various kinds, and challenged to help those who are having their boats battered. Strengthened by the prayers from the 4 directions we then launched into the business section of the meeting.
During General Council 43, various people will be reporting on what’s happening, sharing moments and offering their reflections. Deborah Laforet and Marlene Britton-Walfall found connection at GC43.
General Council is a place to reconnect. As someone who was a candidate in one conference, a student in another, settled into a third, and am now in a fourth conference, General Council becomes a place where I can connect with people across those conference and across provinces. Continue reading “Nous ne sommes pas seuls #GC43”
During General Council 43, various people will be reporting on what’s happening, sharing moments and offering their reflections. Tammy Allan sets the stage.
We have arrived! We are here in Oshawa Ontario at the site of General Council 43. The theme is “Risking Faith, Daring Hope.” The day was mostly devoted to a “Festival of Faith”, with workshops, music, a few food trucks…a celebration of the church’s work and witness, through the arts. There were also opportunities to connect with friends old and new. We gathered for a bit of orientation to the new business model in the late afternoon, and to hear a presentation on the Calls to the Church related to reconciliation with our indigenous brothers and sisters. After dinner, a bit of social time. Those of us from Alberta and Northwest Conference gathered for “cookies and milk” with our conference president, Kathy Yamashita. There was also a welcome party outside on the grounds, with live music…which I can still hear as I type this!
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.” Continue reading “The log in my eye”
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.
This past May and June, Conferences across the country gathered for what may be the last time as the United Church moves towards collapsing our 4-court model to 3 and replacing Presbyteries and Conferences with Regions. In the face of change we continued to hold the ancient rituals of our gatherings, marking beginning, endings and the joy in the gathering itself. Continue reading “Where 2 or 3 are gathered. . .”
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.