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.
Kathy used technology to connect and meet with her mentees who lived a few hours apart. Using Zoom, an on-line video communication system, she would first meet with one for 1/2 an hour when they would be joined by the second for 1 hour and then she would meet with that student for 1/2 on their own. This allowed for private on on one time as well as opportunity for rich discussion together.
One of the students that Kathy mentored was Barb McGill. “I really loved the format that we used this last year,” said Barb. “The opportunity for the three of us to listen to and talk through our lived experience, and the diaconal lens was exciting. I found this year that I started to get a sense of the breadth of diaconal identity that can be expressed through asking the same kinds of questions. Who is missing from this conversation (from the table)? What does it mean to be on the margins…what we gain or lose when we are not? What does power look like and what is its role?”
Sandra Maltby-Mills had a similar experience. “I found our discussions together brought a greater depth of understanding to being diaconal,” Sandra said. “We took turns sharing our thoughts, questions and perceptions of the readings. This gave us three different opportunities to explore from different angles or views. Our discussions drew from experiences, interests and studies that all three of us brought. We were able to discuss situations with much insight and discovery. For me, it introduced ways of seeing things that I would not have been exposed to otherwise. This was my first year of diaconal study, and already I feel well grounded in an understanding of diaconal service.”
“I highly recommend this kind of participation in the educational work for CCS,” said Kathy. “It is a great way to be a companion. In our sharing I hope to encourage the development of diaconal perspective. I am reminded of the rich learning I received at CCS every time we meet. We laugh, we ponder and we acknowledge the power of community in doing the work of the church
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.
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:
There’s still time to register for 2 weeks of learning in community with the Centre for Christian Studies at the beautiful Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria, BC. Sign up now for Learning on Purpose 2018!
The CCS website was down for part of this past weekend (too much traffic), so we’re extending our registration deadline to May 15th. If you were thinking about taking advantage of this opportunity to dive deep into your calling for social justice, spiritual care, education, worship, and theology but didn’t get around to registering, this week is for you! Continue reading “Learning on Purpose 2018 registration deadline extended”
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.
Calls to Action table
Karen and chaplain Judy Delorme
Ken Alison Gloria (Barb) Karlene Barb Lorrie
Norah McMurtry, resource person and Judy Delorme, elder
Sadie Phoenix-Lavoie, resource person.
The Agape Table
Spiraling through identity and place with YooNok Shin and Deanna Zanttingh
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.
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. Continue reading “Prayers for the children”
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.
Not long ago at St. Matthew’s Anglican Church where I am priest, a friend and parishioner good-naturedly called me out as a hypocrite: “You preach against hierarchy, but you’re an Anglican priest.”
It’s a tension in which I have found a rather comfortable vocational home, living in the messy “now” of Christianity in upheaval, working like so many others — in my small, local way within community — to reclaim the Christian faith tradition from Christendom and Empire. I do preach against much in which I am complicit: systems of exploitation and privilege, domination, wealth. Together with many others, I reach for much that is rare and precious in our daily context: sharing of resources, mutuality in relationships, a celebration of all that lives and our embraced interdependence.
I don’t frequently identify as an anarchist. It seems presumptuous: I don’t think I do enough to earn the title. And then, taking on that label sounds like it is too much about me and my identity, when in fact I live out my vocation and identity together with others as part of a parish community, a larger faith community, and a larger non-religious community of resistance. But also, “anarchist” is not an identity I hold to in the same way I hold to understanding myself as part of a vast and rich faith tradition. Yet faith has brought me to politics which in turn have contextualized my faith; each informs the other.
There is no actual typical. That is as true for CCS students as it is for the rest of the world. CCS’s signature leadership program, Learning on Purpose, attracts a wide-range of students ~ diaconal, lay, ordained, Anglican, United. There are often students from the Sandy Saulteaux Spiritual Centre and other theological schools, various denominations and occasionally other countries and faith groups.
We recently spoke to four students who might be considered atypical, about their experience taking CCS’s signature leadership program, Learning on Purpose. Two are ordained ministers in the United Church and two are lay ministers in the Anglican Church. As an added point of interest, they are two couples. All of them live in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Min Goo Kang is the minister at Fort Garry United Church. Ha Na Park is the minister at Immanuel United Church. Stacy Stanley Young is a self-employed book-keeper and volunteer treasurer at St. Paul’s Anglican Fort Garry. Evan Young works for the city of Winnipeg and is a liturgical lay leader at St. Paul’s. Min Goo and Stacy attended the LoP in August 2016. Ha Na and Evan attended in August 2017.Continue reading “Learning on Purpose focusses purpose”