Mother, daughter DUCCs

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.

DUCC 2018

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.

Martha Martin and Alana Martin

The work I heard being done by this community is inspiring! I met hospital, prison and student chaplains, people who dedicated their lives to outreach ministry in the margins, a conference Executive Secretary, and people who are working in congregational ministry but with a diaconal lens and foundation to only name a few! Their presence allowed me to see a diverse and amazing future. I am so happy in the work I am doing currently with The GO Project, but when I think about what could come after I get scared that I won’t find work as meaningful or true to who I am and my passions. Experiencing a room full of people who have found meaning in their work, whatever the role, was reassuring and inspiring.

It was a blessing to share this experience with my mom, above everything else. My mom, Martha Martin is a Diaconal Minister in the United Church of Canada and an alumna of CCS. She worked in Halifax for 3 decades in chaplaincy and formation, and most recently in Toronto in interim ministry. I often attribute my call to her and the foundation she laid for me. I often make jokes about being a PK (preacher’s kid). And jokes are made at my expense with comments like “oh you are so your mother’s daughter!” when people see our similarities in ministry.

But the truth is, I learned everything from her, and was grateful to be in this community together. Sharing a vocation isn’t easy. I’m sure my mom feels a sense of protection towards me. But despite the hard and challenging parts of ministry I’m thankful to share in the community together and for the opportunities to engage with DUCC.

What happened in Victoria changes lives! Learning on Purpose – 2 weeks in pictures

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.

Click on a gallery to scroll through the images.
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The top 5 things that all Companions share – who do you nominate?

Every year, the Centre for Christian Studies names one person, or occasionally two people, as Companion of the Centre.  Companions of the Centre epitomize diakonia and provide inspiration to all of us on how to live into this ministry.  While the people who have been distinguished over the years are fairly diverse, there are 5 traits that they all share:

  • the spirit of diakonia infuses their whole lives
  • they are passionate about the world around them
  • their ministry has touched others profoundly
  • they offer in the spirit of love and service
  • they inspire us
2018 Companion of the Centre, Sue Taylor

The CCS Awards Working Group is now inviting nominations for the 2019 Companion of the Centre Award.  Continue reading “The top 5 things that all Companions share – who do you nominate?”

A circle of Right Relations

The Right Relations learning circle gathered from April 19 – 25.  CCS students were joined by students from the Sandy Saulteaux Spiritual Centre, six continuing studies students (both lay and clergy), Elders and special guests.

Prayers for the children

Richard Manley Tanis is the Minister of Evangelism, Mission & Church Development at the Winnipeg Presbytery, the incoming principal at St. Andrew’s College in Saskatoon and a graduate of CCS. This is a reflection from his blog A Deacon’s Musing.

Creator's Children

Creator’s Children

This last Sunday I offered the Prayers of the People during the Annual Service of Celebration for the Centre for Christian Studies (CCS). This service marks the graduation of Diaconal Ministers and also honours a new Companion of the Centre each year. This service is also significant for me as I, myself, graduated from the programme in 2009. Needless to say, I felt honoured and a little anxious.

The Prayers of the People are part of the worship experience that brings forth the concerns and worries, hopes and celebrations that are present in a faith community and beyond. Sometimes they are understood as an intercession with the Holy in which prayers are presented with the hope of intervention. For some, the prayers are less about an expectation of action and more about being able to name–in community–that which might otherwise be silenced. Regardless of the approach, whether a mingling of the intention, I have always understood this worship act as one of the ways that Creator is channelled.
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Risking relationship – Graduating class of 2018

In the Presence of the Creator of the world, eternal God,
We come from many places for a little while.
With the Redeemer of humanity, God with us,
We come with all our differences seeking common ground.
Enlivened with the Spirit of unity, go-between God,
We have come on journeys of our own
to a place where journeys meet.
So here in this place today
Let us take time together.
For when paths cross, there is so much to share and celebrate~
~Call to worship from the 2018 Service of Celebration

Marcie Gibson offered the citation for the 2018 CCS graduates at the Service of Celebration on April 15.

It my pleasure to share with you our graduates of the Centre for Christian Studies Diploma in Diaconal Ministries 2018 class.

Melanie Ihmels, from Victoria British Colombia and BC Conference, Tiffany McNaughton inabstentia from Fernie British Colombia and Alberta Northwest Conference, Anita Rowland from Orangevill Ontario and Toronto Conference, and Catherine Underhill from Peterborough Ontario and Bay of Quinte Conference.

Some of you who attended the graduation banquet last night will have heard a bit about their individual journeys, but today I wish to speak to you about these four students as a graduating class together.
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Heartbeat of healing

This is one of a series of reflections about Courageous Risking, the 2018 gathering of DUCC (Diakonia of the United Church of Canada). 

My diaconal ministry classmates and I were invited to join the DUCC conference outings on April 18th. Diaconal ministers and students from across the country spiraled out into Winnipeg, visiting sites about Truth and Reconciliation, social enterprise, Indigenous art, community ministries, corrections and justice, ally-ship, and courageous risking through art making.

At the Winnipeg Art Gallery exhibit Insurgence/Resurgence I was drawn to Ejinda-pushit, the stretched caribou hide that formed a huge drum amplified by a speaker. This piece was created by Tsēma Igharas, interdisciplinary artist and member of the Tāłtān First Nation.
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The week of EVERYTHING!

A week in pictures.

This has been the week of everything at the Centre for Christian Studies.

Integration Year students gathered at Woodsworth House on Monday, April 9, for their final learning circle. On the 11th, students participating in the Relationship learning circle began the first of back-to-back circles, meeting just down the street at St. Peter’s Lutheran church. The Central Council met for their annual face-to-face meeting from the 12th to the 14th. On the weekend we celebrated new grads and this year’s Companion of the Centre, first at the Celebration Banquet and then at the Service of Celebration.

Also, this year the Diakonia of the United Church of Canada (DUCC) met in Winnipeg from April 17th to 20th and the Right Relations learning circle will gather from the 19th to the 26th.

It’s been a full week!

Click on a gallery to scroll through the photos.

Integration Year 

Marcie Gibson (staff), Tif McNaughton, Melanie Ihmaels, Anita Rowland, Catherine Underhill

Continue reading “The week of EVERYTHING!”

Congratulate our 2018 Grads and Companion

On April 14 and 15, we will be celebrating this year’s graduating class and Companion of the Centre!

The Celebration Banquet will be on Saturday, April 14 at St. George’s Anglican Church at 5 p.m. If you’d like to attend, or to sponsor a student to attend, contact the office at office@ccsonline.ca.

The Annual Service of Celebration will be Sunday, April 15 at 2 p.m. at the Thomson Funeral Home, 669 Broadway in Winnipeg. All are welcome!

Please offer your congratulations in the comments section.

Graduates Catherine Underhill, Tif McNaughton, Anita Rowland and Melanie Ihmels.

Cathy will be commissioned April 29th with the Bay of Quinte Conference into a pastoral charge located in a farming community. She is also honoured to graduate with a BTS in Diaconal Ministry from St. Stephen’s College.  She says, “As a green gal, I am rooted in contemporary social movements through my long standing love of gardening.  For any of you who are gardeners, activists and educators who transform the system by planting seeds, tending the plants and peeling back the hard-edged concrete, my hope is that together we bring about a more beautiful and just world.”
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Hamilton DUCC annual overnight winter retreat

By Linda Clark

Each winter, the diaconal folk of Hamilton Conference gather for an overnight retreat, held at Crieff Hills Retreat Centre in the House of the Prophet. We have been doing this for several years now; I have records going back to 2009 in my computer, but I suspect it was even before that. Our main purpose is Sabbath time. In some years, we have done a bit of DUCC work, but overall, it is time to just be. As folks arrive sporadically on a Thursday morning, the coffee table begins to get piles of snacks for sharing, until there is no more room. Coffee and tea is made. During this gathering time, we spend time doing what we each want or need; some knit, others colour. We talk about our lives in general terms, and do a more formal check-in usually starting over or after lunch, for a couple hours. Then we take a break to go outside, or nap, or whatever. Of course throughout this time, we are munching on the wonderful snacks. Then we continue check-in over dinner. Continue reading “Hamilton DUCC annual overnight winter retreat”