When we launched the project for evaluation and redesign of the Centre for Christian Studies program, we wanted to use the particular expertise of new Program Staff and to respond to the emerging needs of students, churches, and society. As things have evolved over the years since the current program was introduced, there has been less and less call on it by Anglicans.
There are a number of reasons for this:
- fewer opportunities for trained lay leaders to be employed in Anglican churches
- education for the formation of deacons is determined diocese by diocese, and CCS may not be on the radar of local leaders
- because the work of deacons is non-stipendiary, it is believed those entering the diaconate are less likely to have the funds or time to access the fulltime CCS program.
- the program has taken on a United Church flavour with fewer Anglicans in the student body exerting influence
When we started we were interested in removing the barriers that prevent current and potential students, particularly Anglicans [and Lutherans], from accessing CCS’s education.
How this new program will benefit Anglicans:
- Students will benefit from a program for formation that is open and flexible, allowing them to access and deepen those areas of study that are most relevant to their contexts and parishes.
- The Anglican Church of Canada will benefit from having a strong model for ministry formation rooted in diakonia and faithful to current ecclesial, theological, and pedagogical trends (e.g. The Iona Report)
- Parishes and communities will benefit from the ministry of our students and graduates, who are equipped and able to respond to and stand with those who are most in need.
When the Association of Anglican Deacons meets this summer, they will have a chance to “play” with the components of the new program and advise on what an Anglican Program for Formation for Deacons could look like at CCS. Ideas informed through consultation will be implemented into a flexible Program for Formation for Deacons.