Meet the 2021 Graduates
Four CCS students graduated from the Diaconal Ministries program this year. There were three opportunities to meet them and celebrate with them and with the 2021 recipient of the Companion of the Centre Award: The Profiles in Diakonia event, the Annual Service of Celebration, and the Online Tea Party. (See below)
Congratulations to graduates Alana Martin, Bri-anne Swan, Karlene Kimber, and Rebecca Pike, and to Companion Anne Manikel!
If you weren’t able to make it to any of these events (or even if you were), please drop a word of congratulations to any or all of these fine people in the comments section.
At the Online Tea Party reception, CCS program staff member Marcie Gibson spoke about the group of graduating students:
It is my pleasure to share with you our graduates of the Centre for Christian Studies Diploma in Diaconal Ministries, 2021 cohort.
- Rebecca Pike – born, raised, and residing in St. John’s Newfoundland.
- Alana Martin – originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia where she was born and raised, and who currently calls Toronto home.
- Bri-anne Swan – originally from Oro-Medonte just outside of Orillia, Ontario, but also now calls Toronto home.
- And Karlene Kimber – born, raised, and residing in the area of London, Ontario.
Student Rachel Nadon in Calgary was also part of this Integration Year cohort, and has chosen to defer her graduation to next year so that she can do some additional learning and preparation for ministry. I’m glad that we get to keep her a little longer J.
One of the gifts of this cohort, was the ministry experiences that they brought to discussion and used to integrate their learnings. From Karlene in a rural two-point charge, to Bri-anne in a justice role at the Regional Council, Rachel and Rebecca both at large urban multi-staff churches but one focused on elder pastoral care in Calgary Alberta and another on children and youth in St John’s Nfld, and Alana coordinating a national scope ministry of the GO Project. These contexts not only allowed them to learn from each other, but also witness to the breadth of expressions of diakonia.
One of my favourite quotes as a young adult was from Ani Difranco; “Because the world is absurd, and beautiful, and small”. This year, it has felt even more so.
Absurdly, all three of their Integration Learning circles have been online this year; creating both an intimacy in zooming from home, with pets and beloveds, and a reminder of the distance – spanning three, four, sometimes six, distant time zones.
There is a particular sacredness in circle. Lighting six candles at once, as we gathered in the light of Christ, reminded me of how our students are so grounded in their personal contexts – of ministry, of relationships, of responsibility, of joy – and yet come together with amazing intention to foster and nurture community among them.
This Integration cohort was particularly adept at using technology to connect – not only over Zoom, but also texting each other, checking-in regularly, and making a point to meet as students through the year. They also found creative ways to connect with mentors, with Candidacy boards, with theme students, with diaconal community, and yes – with staff. In the face of a lot of other isolation and pivoting, their finesse at networking and intentional care, was incredible – making the distances smaller.
One of the things that I value most about this cohort is their commitment to relationship. Relationships among them, relationship with Creator and their faith, relationship with those who have gone before, those who are yet to come; with movements for racial, ecological, and indigenous justice, and shaping their ministry with a robust intersectionality. They have sustained each other with prayer, laughter, challenging questions, thoughtfulness, and blessed grace.
Bri-anne, Alana, Karlene, and Rebecca – today as ever, we give thanks for you, and we celebrate you! May your next journeys be both exciting adventures and gentle footpaths. May the Spirit continue to whisper in your ear and lead from your hearts. May you know your landing place here with CCS, and the breadth of God’s world before you. With respect, blessings, and thanks.