Courses and Circles

The Centre for Christian Studies offers courses and circles for students in our Diploma (Diaconal Ministries) and Certificate programs, as well as for Continuing Education students. Some courses and circles have prerequisites.  Visit the Tuition page for course and circle fees.


Courses and Circles for 2017-2018

August 14-25, 2017 Learning on Purpose (Winnipeg)
September 2017 – May, 2017 Diaconal Praxis
September 2017 – May 2018 Field
September 11-16, 2017 Integration I
October 2017 – March 2018 Integration II (online)
October 11-17, 2017 Ministry as Listening (SC1)
October 19-25, 2017 Grief and Loss (SC2)
January 2018 – March 2018  (online) Ages and Stages (EW2) *tentative
April 9-15, 2018 Integration III
April 11-17, 2018 Relationships (SC3)
April 19-25, 2018 Right Relations (SJ5)

Course and Circle Descriptions

LEADERSHIP and DISCERNMENT COURSES

Explore your calling, develop your leadership skills, and discover the meaning of “learning-in-community.”

  • Learning on Purpose – a 2-week introduction to learning in community, self-awareness, group skills, conflict, making change, and approaches to theology, scripture, pastoral care, education, worship, and social justice.
    Next offered: Aug 14-25, 2017
  • Ministry of Word and Example – a 6-session exploration of diakonia in the Anglican tradition.

 

THEME LEARNING CIRCLES

Theme Learning Circles are 6-day in-person intensives (or, coming soon, 8-10 week online courses), exploring various themes in ministry and faith-based leadership and action.  Learning Circles include readings, assignments, and group work.  Two in-person Learning Circles are offered back-to-back in the fall, and two back-to-back in the spring.

SPIRITUAL CARE CIRCLES

  • Ministry as Listening – ministry of presence, pastoral visiting, prayer, counseling and spiritual direction, pastoral ethics and boundaries.
  • Grief and Loss – pastoral support to the dying and those they leave behind, end of life issues, funerals, and questions of afterlife.
  • Relationships – intimate and familial relationships, sexuality and gender, family systems, weddings, covenants, relationship break-ups, and the role of minister as support.
  • Health, Pain, & Trauma – mental health, chronic pain, stress, depression, suicide, abuse, trauma, and healing.
  • To Be Determined – a circle focusing on a significant aspect of spiritual care.

SOCIAL JUSTICE CIRCLES

  • Ministry as Community-Building – healthy community, issues of safety and comfort, advocacy, congregational systems, and theology of the reign of God.
  • Power and Privilege –social location, individual and systemic power, social analysis, and the role of the prophet.
  • Oppression and Resistance – systems of oppressions (racism, sexism, heterosexism, colonialism, etc.), models of change, and theologies of resistance (liberation theology, feminist theology, queer theology, etc.)
  • Eco-Justice – environmental concerns, climate change, water and food security, population displacement, and the theology of creation.
  • Right Relations – the relationship of indigenous and settler people in Canada, treaty as covenant, truth and reconciliation, indigenous spiritualities, land, and the theology of mission.

CHRISTIAN EDUCATION & WORSHIP CIRCLES

  • Ministry as Storytelling – preaching, scripture as narrative, and the arts in worship and education.
  • Ages and Stages – ministry with various age groups, development theory, curriculum, youth ministry, children’s ministry, adult education, ministry with seniors, and intergenerational ministry.
  • Living Scripture – practical bible study, understanding and interpreting the bible in context, and the theology of revelation.
  • Culture and Identity – exploring race and culture, interfaith and ecumenical connections, and intersectionality.
  • Worship – liturgy planning and worship leadership, sacraments, and special services.

PRAXIS

What is “praxis?”  It’s action combined with reflection, and it’s how experiential learning happens.  Diaconal ministry students do Diaconal Praxis for every year they are active in the diploma program.

  • Diaconal Praxis Year – the ongoing learning community for all Centre for Christian Studies diaconal ministry students across the country. Students set their own learning goals and plans for the year in consultation with program staff. Throughout the year reflection papers ask students to make connections between what they are learning (in learning circles, external, elsewhere) and their experience. Each student connects with a learning partner, and with a Diaconal Mentor, with whom they explore questions of diaconal identity and perspective.
  • Vocational Praxis Year – Similar to the Diaconal Praxis Year, with a non-diaconal mentor appropriate to the student’s context and learning goals (eg. a non-profit director, an ordained minister, a spiritual director, etc.)

FIELD EDUCATION

Practical field experience and engagement with the world allows Diploma and Certificate students to put theory into practice, and provides contextual grounding for Learning Circles and Academic courses.

  • Field Placement 1, 2, and 3  – an 8 month practical learning experience.  Students arrange their own field placement (approved by CCS staff) and practice their ministry skills for 330 hours over the course of 32 weeks (approx. 10 to 12 hours per week). Students meet regularly with on-site learning facilitators for guidance and advice, and with local committees for support.  (Field placements can be combined with a paid ministry positions provided clear distinctions can be established between a student’s learning goals and their professional obligations.)
  • Global Perspectives Experience – a 10-14 day study trip to another part of the world with a recognized partner organization.  The GPE provides an opportunity to step outside of one’s comfort zone, make theological, social, political, and economic connections between Canadian and global contexts, and deepen one’s understanding of accompaniment and solidarity.  The trip is preceded by orientation and preparatory reflection, and followed by intentional integration and action.

ACADEMIC COURSES (Externals)

Students in the Diaconal Ministries program are required to take 8 academic courses in theology, Biblical studies, church history, and ethics.  These courses are often referred to as “externals”, as they are not taken at the Centre for Christian Studies but at a recognized theological education institution outside of the CCS. (For more information and to see a list of recognized institutions, visit the External Course page.)  The 8 required academic courses are:

  • Theology (2) – an introductory theology course and a course on a more specific theological focus (eg. Christology, feminist theology, contemporary indigenous theologians, etc.)
  • Christian Scriptures (2) – an introductory Christian Scriptures or New Testament course and a course on a more specific focus (eg. the Gospel of Mark, images of nature in Revelations, etc.)
  • Hebrew Scriptures (2) – an introductory Hebrew Bible or Old Testament course and a course on a more specific focus (eg. women in the Hebrew Bible, Exodus, etc.)
  • Church History (1) – a course providing an overview of Christian church history.
  • Christian Ethics (1) – a course providing an overview of ethical models and methodologies in the Christian tradition.

INTEGRATION CIRCLES

In the final year of their diploma program, diaconal students take an integrating year to pull together all they’ve learned and prepare for a life of leadership in the church and the world.  (Integration Circles I, II, and III are taken in the same school year.)

  • Integration I – theology, personal faith statements and official creeds, diaconal/vocational/ministry identity.
  • Integration II – a 6-session online connection focusing on denominational identity and polity.
  • Integration III – a 6-day circle focusing on preparation for active ministry.

MINI-COURSES

Mini-courses are short, self-directed online courses focusing on some of the tools, skills, and ideas that are foundational to the Centre for Christian Studies’ education model.  These non-credit courses can be taken as a prerequisite for other courses, as a refresher for CCS students, or as a “taste” of what CCS offers for the general public.

NOTE: Most of these mini-courses are still in development.

  • The CCS Action-Reflection Spiral – Learn to use this tool for understanding and transformation.
  • Giving and Receiving Feedback – Tips for offering encouragement and challenge without alienating people, and accepting comments without being defensive.
  • Learning Goals and Learning Plans – Learn to identify what you want and need to learn and make specific plans for how to get there.
  • Group Planning Skills and Processes – Tips on working with others to plan and lead an event, workshop, or educational session.
  • Thinking about Spiritual Care – An introduction to some terms and ideas that are important for people who want to provide emotional and spiritual care to know.
  • Thinking about Social Justice – An introduction to some terms and ideas that are important for justice-seekers, advocates, allies, and people who want to understand and change the world to know.
  • Thinking about Christian Education & Worship – An introduction to some terms and ideas that are important for youth ministers, Bible study leaders, workshop facilitators, and worship leaders to know.
  • Thinking about a Global Perspectives Experience – Learn to step out of your comfort zone with an openness to discovering pain, courage, and shared challenges in other parts of the world, and then integrate  your global experiences when you return.
  • The Alumni Reading Circle – A special online community for our alumni, with access to all the readings assigned to current students and a forum for discussion and sharing of resources.

COST

How much does a course or learning circle cost?  Check out the Tuition page.


PREREQUISITES

Course/Circle/Activity Prerequisite
Mini-courses no prerequisite
Learning on Purpose no prerequisite
Diaconal/Vocational Praxis Learning on Purpose, or
Mini-courses: “Spiral” + “Feedback”
Up to 4 Theme Learning Circles* Learning on Purpose, or
Mini-courses*: “Spiral” + “Feedback” + “Thinking About…” (eg. “Thinking About Social Justice” prior to a Social Justice circle)
* students must have Learning on Purpose to lead student-led sessions in learning circles
5th Theme Learning Circle 2 Academic Courses (externals)
1st Field Placement Learning on Purpose
2nd Field Placement 3 Theme Learning Circles
Global Perspectives Experience 10 Theme Learning Circles + “Thinking about a GPE” mini-course
Integration I, II, and III 12 Theme Learning Circles + 3 Field Placements + 8 Academic Courses (externals) + Global Perspectives Experience

Course and Circle FAQ

How much do Courses or Circles cost?  Check out the Tuition page.  Tuition costs don’t include travel or accommodations.

Where do learning circles take place?  Most in-person learning circles take place in Winnipeg.  The Learning on Purpose course often moves around the country.

Do I have to take a Praxis Year every year?  If you’re in the Diaconal Ministries program, yes, you should do the praxis component every year.  It’s how you develop the practice of reflecting on and integrating your experience, regardless of whether that experience is attending learning circles, doing a field placement, taking academic courses, or just living your life as a diaconal student.  If you don’t want to or are unable to do the praxis component, you could consider becoming Inactive.

What does Inactive status mean?  Sometimes life gets in the way of your being able to be a student.  “Inactive” means you’re taking a break from being a CCS student for awhile – to look after your health, care for a loved one, travel, work, whatever – and you plan on coming back to your studies when you’re done.  After more than 3 Inactive years in a row, we’ll consider you withdrawn from your program and you’ll have to reapply.

What would a “full” year of the diaconal program include?  A typical full year would be made up of: Diaconal Praxis, a Field Placement, 4 theme learning circles (2 in the fall, 2 in the spring), and maybe a couple of Academic external courses.  An Integrating Year would be made up of: Diaconal Praxis, and 3 Integration Circles.  (Global Perspectives is also usually considered part of the Integrating Year, though one’s actual trip might have occurred earlier.)

Is there a schedule of courses and  learning circles for the years to come?  There is a tentative schedule. Generally, Praxis components and Field Placements will run from September to May each year.  Integration 1 learning circles will be in September each year, Integration 2 will be online and run between October and the Integration 3 circle, and Integration 3 will be in March or April, depending on when Easter falls in a given year.  Theme learning circles will usually be offered in October and in March or April (again, depending on Easter and the Integration 3 timing).  The tentative rotation of Theme learning circles looks like:

  • October 11-17, 2017  –  Ministry as Listening (SC1)
  • October 19-25, 2017  –  Grief and Loss (SC2)
  • January – March, 2018  –  (online) Ages and Stages (EW2) *tentative
  • April 11-17, 2018  –  Relationships (SC3)
  • April 19-25, 2018  –  Right Relations (SJ5)
  • October, 2018  –  Ministry as Community-Building (SJ1)
  • October, 2018  –  Worship (EW5)
  • January-March, 2019  –  (online) Ministry as Listening (SC1)
  • January – March, 2019  –  (online) Living Scripture (EW3)
  • April , 2019  –  Health, Pain, & Trauma (SC4)
  • April, 2019  –  Power and Privilege (SJ2)
  • October, 2019  –  Ministry as Storytelling (EW1)
  • October, 2019  –  TBD (SC5)
  • January-March, 2020  –  (online) Ministry as Community-Building (SJ1)
  • January – March, 2020  –  (online) Health, Pain, & Trauma (SC4)
  • April , 2020  –  Oppression and Resistance (SJ3)
  • April , 2020  –  Ages and Stages (EW2)
  • October, 2020  –  Ministry as Listening (SC1)
  • October, 2020  –  Eco-Justice (SJ4)
  • January – March, 2021  –  (online) Culture and Identity (EW4)
  • January-March , 2021  –  (online) Power and Privilege (SJ2)
  • April , 2021  –  Living Scripture (EW3)
  • April, 2021  –  Grief and Loss (SC2)
  • October , 2021  –  Right Relations (SJ5)
  • October, 2021  –  Culture and Identity (EW4)
  • January-March, 2022  –  (online) TBD (SC5)
  • January – March, 2022  –  (online) Worship (EW5)
  • April, 2022  –  Relationships (SC3)
  • April, 2022  –  Power and Privilege (SJ2)
  • October, 2022  –  Worship (EW5)
  • October, 2022  –  Health, Pain, & Trauma (SC4)
  • January – March , 2023  –  (online) Oppression and Resistance (SJ3)
  • January-March, 2023  –  (online) Ministry as Listening (SC1)
  • April , 2023  –  Ministry as Community-Building (SJ1)
  • April, 2023  –  Ministry as Storytelling (EW1)

I started my diaconal studies before 2017. What are my Theme Years worth?  If you’ve completed a Pastoral Care Year, that’s the equivalent of a Field Placement, 4 Spiritual Care circles, and a Diaconal Praxis component.  A Social Ministry Year is worth a Field Placement, 4 Social Justice circles, and a Diaconal Praxis component.  And an Educational & Liturgical Ministry Year is the equivalent of a Field Placement, 4 Education & Worship circles, and a Diaconal Praxis component.

I started my diaconal studies before 2017 and I haven’t done the prerequisite Academic courses to take more learning circles yet.  Can I still register for learning circles? Yes. But get busy with those externals, would you.