Reclaiming Our Anglican Roots

On Saturday, September 21st, a class of seven students and two facilitators met from 9 AM to 4 PM at Woodsworth House for the first session of CCS’s new course for Anglicans – Ministering by Word and Example: Exploring DIAKONIA in the Anglican Tradition.

The students were inquirers, discerners, and candidates for the diaconate in the diocese of Rupert’s Land, based in Winnipeg and serving the surrounding area. There were six women, one man, and another “in the wings” who couldn’t come that day because of a broken wrist.

The instructors were the Rev. Louise Cornell, chair of the Diocesan Working Group on the Diaconate, and myself.

On the first day we built in time for participants to get to know one another, to learn about the course, and to become familiar with their surroundings at the Centre, including where the bathrooms are and how the Smart Board works.

Louise gave an outline of the course text, Reinhold Niebuhr’s Christ and Culture, as a way into to thinking about being “interpreters of the needs, hopes, and concerns of the world”.

We examined CCS’ Learning Guidelines as well as the table of competencies for deacons developed by “TEAC” – Theological Education in the Anglican Communion.

And finally students were introduced to CCS’s Spiral Model of Theological Reflection.

The course will be offered on the third Saturday of the month in October, November, January, February, and March. It is designed around the mandate for deacons in the ordination service in the Book of Alternative Services: interpreting the world to the church; ministering through service; looking for Christ in all others; making Christ known; assisting in public worship.

The course design is a work in progress, an “action-reflection” model of learning, and we are grateful to the participants in this first class for their willingness to learn along with us. It draws on the best of CCS’s teaching resources, while adjusting them to the reality of the non-stipendiary, volunteer nature of the Anglican diaconate. It is my hope that the course can be adapted and made available to other dioceses.

How I wish I had taken a picture of this momentous day! It seems at long last that the Centre for Christian Studies is beginning to reclaim its Anglican roots, which started with the Deaconess and Missionary Training House in Toronto in 1892.

– Maylanne Maybee, Principal