Theme Years

The CCS program includes 3 Theme Years, which are offered on a rotating basis (i.e. each Theme Year is offered every three years). The 3 Themes of the diaconal ministry program are:

Each Theme Year includes 2 Learning Circles (in the Fall and the Spring), 8 months of Field learning placement, and various assignments. The Leadership Development Module is a pre-requisite for all Theme Years. Individual Theme Years can be taken for a Certificate, or all 3 can be taken as part of the 4-year Diploma in Diaconal Ministries program.


Pastoral Care Year

pastoral care in a hospital

Learn the art and skills of soul listening and sensitive attending. Explore the issues and theories of pastoral care related to life crises and personal concerns. Develop a justice and compassion approach to pastoral care that integrates and responds to immediate needs and social analysis. The Pastoral Care Year is an exciting experiential learning process for anyone who wants to…

  • Interweave a holistic reflection upon the practical, academic, theological, liturgical, and spiritual aspects of ministry.
  • Uphold the gifts of the pastoral counseling movement.
  • Work towards transforming society so that all might live in right relationship, so that all might experience abundant life.


The Pastoral Care year provided an opportunity to learn more about caring in ways that seek justice for all of creation.

– Gabrielle McLarty, former CCS student

Themes explored in the Pastoral Care Year include:

  • Introduction to Pastoral Care Theory
  • Themes in Pastoral Care
  • Counseling Skills
  • Professional Ethics
  • Sexuality
  • Violence and Abuse
  • Field Placement (500 hours)

The Pastoral Care Year will be offered in 2014-2015 school year.


Social Ministry Year

Hate is not a family value

What are the real roots of the unequal distribution of wealth and power in our world? How can we challenge and change racism, sexism, homophobia and militarism? How do we build community locally and globally in ways that are respectful and inclusive? What would it mean to be good stewards of all creation? The Social Ministry Year is a challenging and inspiring learning opportunity for anyone who wants to:

  • Explore the prophets, the biblical vision of Jubilee, the changing understanding of mission in our churches
  • Develop theologies of liberation and justice
  • Discover how to become an agent of change


The Social Ministry Year..was transformational for me…Through experiences and reflection I began to understand the importance of ministries of prophetic voice, accompaniment, witness, advocacy, and peace-making. It turned my world upside down…in a good way.

– Laura Hunter, CCS grad

Themes explored in the Social Justice Year include:

  • Introduction to Social Justice Theory
  • Themes in Social Ministry
  • Social and Ideological Analysis
  • Field Placement (500 hours)

The Social Ministry Year will be offered in 2015-2016 school year.


Educational & Liturgical Ministry Year

Sunday School class

How do we hold our faith tradition and modern context together in our education and worship approach? What approach to education will lead to committed faithfulness in children and youth? How do we celebrate a diversity of faith in ways that are respectful and inclusive? How can our education and worship address and challenge conditions of oppression such as racism and sexism? The Educational & Liturgical Ministry Year is an excellent opportunity for both youth leaders and adult educators to explore ideas and develop skills in:

  • faith development
  • theology and doctrine
  • ecumenical and interfaith diversity
  • worship and preaching

I learned that I don’t need to have all the answers. Searching together and empowering others to use their gifts leads to a mutuality of ministry which in enriching for all.

– Sally Meyer, CCS grad

Themes explored in the Educational & Liturgical Ministry Year include:

  • Introduction to Christian Education Theory
  • Themes in Christian Education
  • Ecumenism and Pluralism
  • Human and Faith Development
  • Ministry with Children
  • Worship and Preaching
  • Field Placement (500 hours)

The Educational & Liturgical Ministry Year will be offered in the 2016-2017 school year.


Learning Circles and Field Education

Each Theme Year includes 2 Learning Circles (in the Fall and the Spring), 8 months of Field learning placement, and various assignments. Students in the Diploma program are also responsible for external courses to be taken at an outside theological school or university.

Learning Circles are held two times during each year of the program. Students are required to be away from home for approximately five weeks in each year. At the Learning Circles, students explore content related to education, pastoral care and social ministries while using their experience in community to learn group process theory and facilitation skills. Readings and assignments are required during each Learning Circle.

Field education is arranged within the student’s home area with learning facilitation on site or nearby. A Vocational Mentor also provides support as students work on lay/diaconal identity formation. In addition, each student meets with a lay committee which provides support and opportunities for reflection on field learnings. Students form a learning partnership with a peer in the program for reflection and mutual learning. Learning partners find various ways to meet: e-mail, telephone, fax, by post or in person. (Internet access with the capacity to send and receive attachments is a requirement of the program.) Readings and assignments are required during field education.