A Portrait of Thomasina Connell

2017 marks the 125th anniversary of the Centre for Christian Studies.  Over the course of the year we hope to feature one hundred and twenty-five images and stories about CCS’s history and identity.  To start things off, Lori Stewart reflects on a portrait of Thomasina Connell.

Thomasina Connell, head deaconess and principal of The Church of England Deaconess and Missionary Training House

The first time I saw the impressive portrait of Thomasina Connell, it was stuffed in a storage room in the lower level of the Centre for Christian Studies building at 77 Charles St. in Toronto.  At the time, I wondered who this clear-eyed deaconess was, dressed in the black uniform of an earlier day with the stiff white collar and bonnet.  All I knew was her name, discretely spelled out on a plaque, and that she was looking steadily out of that frame. Continue reading “A Portrait of Thomasina Connell”

Questioning Service

CCS grad Junghee Park died a year ago next Tuesday.  One of the things she did in her life was raise questions, graciously but provocatively. In her doctoral work at the Toronto School of Theology Junghee explored the concept of diakonia as companion and challenged the traditional association of diakonia with service.

In the spirit of thoughtful reflection, here is a reprint of a short piece by Junghee Park about the problem with service. As Junghee says at the end, What do you think? Continue reading “Questioning Service”

Sing for Justice – Micah’s Song

Thank you to David Kai, Jennifer Lidstone, Meghan Witzel, Ken DeLisle, Ted Dodd, Dianne Baker, and Tim Sale for helping us with this lovely video to help invite people to host a “Sing for Justice” event this fall.

The Centre for Christian Studies has a long tradition of living a theology of justice.  The CCS Development Working Group would like you to raise your voice, raise some spirits, raise awareness of CCS, and raise some funds to support transformative education.  For more information on how you can get involved, check out the Sing for Justice page, or contact Lori at stewart@ccsonline.ca .

Thoughts on Being Chaplain

Learning Circle chaplains Christina Paradela and Denise Davis-Taylor
Learning Circle chaplains Christina Paradela and Denise Davis-Taylor

Over the past two and a half weeks of the Social Ministry spring learning circle, two graduates of the Centre – Denise Davis Taylor (grad 1982) and Christina Paradela (grad 2000) – have been providing care and support to the students in the circle.  We asked them to reflect on their experience as chaplains at the learning circle.  They wrote …

Continue reading “Thoughts on Being Chaplain”

Happy Earth Day

pelican in flight

This morning in the Social Ministry learning circle a group of students is leading a session on the social, political, and spiritual significance of water.

And last week Maylanne was in Wisconsin offering leadership for the Conference of Anglican Religious Orders in the Americas (CAROA), helping them explore the implications of Pope Francis’ Laudato Si and the Conversion of Life for intentional religious communities, and ways that care for creation is connected to care for the poor is connected to the spiritual life.

CAROA group c

Continue reading “Happy Earth Day”

Making Connections in China

CCS student Tif McNaughton and principal Maylanne Maybee are currently in Beijing as part of a United Church delegation to China.  They have been connecting with Chinese Christians and creating stronger relationships between the church in China and the church in Canada.

Maylanne (centre) with delegation at the Amity Printing Company (photo by Alan Lai)
Maylanne (centre) with delegation at the Amity Printing Company (photo by Alan Lai)

Continue reading “Making Connections in China”

Maylanne preparing for trip to China

At noon on Friday, November 27, CCS principal Maylanne Maybee will leave for China with a delegation of 20 people, representing The United Church of Canada.  Tif McNaughton, a CCS student, will also be part of the delegation.  For almost two weeks they will be guests of the China Christian Council, visiting church members and leaders of the Three Self Patriotic Movement, the state-recognized Protestant Church in China.  They will fly to Shanghai, then travel by bus or train to the beautiful garden city of Suzhou, then on to Nanjing for a two-day conference at the Nanjing Union Theological Seminary, then a high speed train to Beijing.  Continue reading “Maylanne preparing for trip to China”

VIDEO – November Second Fridays – Bev Ridd and Dianne Cooper on Peace

On Friday, November 13, longtime peace activists and founders of Project Peacemakers, Bev Ridd and Dianne Cooper, were our guests for Second Fridays.  They reflected on Peace – what encourages them, and the significance of story in building a culture of peace.  It was a poignant discussion, coming a couple of days after Remembrance Day, and just before news reports started coming in of attack in Paris.  Our small noon-hour gathering feels like an importance reminder of the challenge and the need for hope.

Bev Ridd has been the heart and soul of Project Peacemakers since its founding meetings over 30 years ago.  She was the key person in working with the Province of Manitoba to call for an implementation of a rating system for video games. She acquired grants from the Winnipeg Foundation for Project Peacemakers to sponsor a banner programme in schools.  As her friend Dianne says, “She talks the talk (lots of great ideas) and walks the walk (works at everything we do).”

Dianne Cooper has been a dedicated activist in the struggle for peace and global justice.  In her peace activities, she’s been a participant in Witness for Peace, a peace group that traveled to Nicaragua documenting experiences in war zones. She was also a member of the World Council of Churches’ Advisory Committee to the Justice, Peace, and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC) event for four years, and a participant at the JPIC conference held in 1990 in Seoul, Korea.  Together with Bev, Dianne was one of the co-founders of Project Peacemakers, a group working for peace and justice from a faith perspective. “We decided we had to get past thinking that this issue was too big to tackle. We didn’t want to tell our kids that we hadn’t at least tried.”

Ted Talks

As we enter the fall here at CCS, we are recognizing the space left when Ted Dodd retired this summer.  CCS grad Gwen McAllister has been hired on a contract basis to coordinate field placement orientations this month and provide leadership at next month’s  Social Ministry learning circle, but we still find things that make us say, “Oh, that’s something Ted did,” or “Ted would know how that works.”

Ted with pictureTed had several opportunities to reflect on his life, his faith, and his ministry in the past year. Believing that everyone appreciates a good Ted talk, Common Threads Working Group member Jeff Cook interviewed Ted this summer, giving him yet one more opportunity to reflect. Here are some snippets of what Ted said: Continue reading “Ted Talks”

Slam the Door Open

CCS’s Scott Douglas is also a playwright, and at the United Church General Council last week his play Maybe One?: A Theatrical History of the United Church of Canada was presented by a group of actors from the London area.  (Video from GC42 is available on Youtube.  The play starts around 13 minutes in.)

Maybe One? was first written in the 1990s and updated in 2000 for the UCC’s 75th anniversary, and then updated again in 2015 for the church’s 90th.  One of the pieces added to the newest version is the final scene: a slam poetry duet on the emergence of “intercultural church.” Continue reading “Slam the Door Open”

Learning to Listen – Reflections on being a Chaplain

Jamie Bradshaw graduated from CCS in 2014.  For this year’s spring learning circle of the Pastoral Care Year she was invited to volunteer as a chaplain.  As you read her reflections on the experience we invite you to think about whether you might consider volunteering 16 days of your time to be a pastoral presence to students.  For alumni, this is a great opportunity to re-connect with the community of a learning circle.

Jamie writes:

Jamie Bradshaw
Jamie Bradshaw

When I first attended CCS as a student in 2010, I had no idea of what I was taking on, nor how, ultimately, I would be transformed by my experience.  Through hard work, determination, gentle prodding and (not so subtle) guidance (at times), and (a lot of) humility as I came to understand myself in different ways, I emerged in 2014… a graduate of both CCS and the University of Winnipeg, and ultimately, a diaconal minister in The United Church of Canada.  I thought I was done… finally due for a rest from the hectic pace and unrelenting self examination which was asked of me as a student. Continue reading “Learning to Listen – Reflections on being a Chaplain”