2014 Companions of the Centre Announced

The Centre for Christian Studies is pleased to announce that in 2014 the Companion of the Centre Award will be presented to Lynda Gow and Eric Tusz-King.  The Companion of the Centre honours individuals who, by their life and work, epitomize the values of CCS.  The award will be presented at CCS’s Annual Service of Celebration on March 30, 2014.

lyndagowLynda Gow is a diaconal minister par excellence. One word that came up again and again in her nominations was “integration”: integration of faith and life; integration of theory and practice; integration of education, justice, service and pastoral care; integration of the “inner” and “outward” life.

Whether she is working with children, adults, seniors, colleagues, or course participants, Lynda brings the same commitment to theological, educational, and pastoral integrity. Lynda has ministered with commitment and wholeheartedness in local congregations while at the same time exercising her diaconal responsibilities at a national level through DUCC (Diakonia of the United Church of Canada), CCS (serving on the Harassment Advisory Working Group), Presbytery, Conference, and General Council committees. Her commitment to God’s world extends globally – through, for example, a journey to Zambia (2002) which led her to reflect theologically on Canada’ role and responsibility in relation to the people of Africa, or a study trip to Australia (2009) where she attended the Parliament of World Religions. Somehow Lynda has managed all of this while being attentive to her own self-care and personal growth, maintaining a healthy sense of humour and exercising a ministry of hospitality to friends, colleagues and strangers (including those who otherwise would have been alone on special occasions).

Lynda was born in Saint John, New Brunswick. She attained a BA from the University of New Brunswick, a CCS Diploma in 1978 and a MA, Diaconal Ministry, in 1999 (St. Stephen’s, Edmonton). Other supporting education includes a semester at St. Andrew’s Theological College (Saskatoon), Ministry of Supervision Course (1981) a CAPE unit (1982); biblical course on the Gospel of Mark and Training as a Sexual Abuse Consultant. She has exercised her ministry within Sherwood Park, Alberta, St. Andrew’s United, Calgary, Southminister-Steinhauer, Edmonth and Knox-Metropolitan United, Edmonton. She official retired in 2009 while ministering at Knox-Metropolitan United, Edmonton. Lynda presently works part-time as Recreation Director, Ashbourne Assisted Living Place, Edmonton.

CCS is pleased to honour Lynda Gow, an exemplary diaconal minister, as a Companion of the Centre.

tusz-kingEric Tusz-King is a person of action.

Those who wrote letters of support for Eric Tusz-King remarked on his Christian faith in action, his expert critical analysis leading to the challenge of unjust structures of society, his courageous speaking truth to justice, and his seeing the work of the Spirit in the life of the community. He has unquestionably advanced the cause of diaconal ministry in the UCC and contributed to diaconal dialogue. In the words of one supporter, “Eric has offered interesting ministry in unusual ways.” He exemplifies excellence in ministry leadership and diaconal style.

Eric graduated with a BA from Mount St Vincent University, followed by an MA in adult education at St Francis University and an MTS from St Stephen’s College. Having graduated from the Centre for Christian Studies in 1978, he was commissioned as a diaconal minister by the Maritime Conference and joined the congregation of St John’s United Church as minister responsible for Christian education and visitation.

After two years Eric moved to the Division of World Outreach at the General Council Office of the UCC. While there he was a member of the Task Force on Commissioned Ministry, which led to his becoming a cofounder of DUCC in which he has been very active at national and international levels. He was also a member of the national UCC Task Force on Churches and Corporate Responsibility.

From there he was part of The Economic Animation Project in Sydney NS and was appointed as Minister for Outreach, Stewardship and Mission Support for the Maritime conference. During this tenure, he developed many initiatives dealing with social justice issues, with a keen sense of the importance of Creation and the inclusion and support of those on the margins for whom he is an advocate. He was cofounder of the Aboriginal Rights Coalition – Atlantic and continued as cofounder of the Task Group on Aboriginal Relationships and Concerns for Maritime Conference assisting the Aboriginal population on the exercise of their fishing rights.

Eric’s passion for the well being of Creation took him into the Sackville community, where he was a founding director of EOS Eco–Energy Inc, a non profit organization devoted to public education and research into energy conservation, renewable energy technologies and sustainable community planning. He founded yet two more companies, Energreen Builders Cooperative, renovating homes etc to become energy efficient and Open Sky Cooperative, providing assistance and community for young adults who are challenged by social, developmental or mental health issues. In addition he is the Atlantic director of the Canadian Workers Cooperative Federation.

Eric has maintained a volunteer relationship with CCS as mentor and encourager of those seeking to become diaconal ministers. He has been an official student mentor, member of Central council and Co chair immediately prior to the move from Toronto to Winnipeg. He continues to be a loyal supporter.

Eric Tusz-King is a man of action who lives out a theology of justice, and CCS is pleased to honour him as a Companion of the Centre.