Images from Power and Privilege 2022

Images from Power and Privilege 2022

From March 31 to April 6 a small group of students gathered online to explore the power dynamics that shape our world and to consider just and transformative ways of using their own power for good. There were three diaconal ministries students and one student doing the Certificate in Social Justice program in the circle. This made for lots of intense conversation – no hiding in the corners (or whatever the Zoom equivalent of a corner is).

“I found it hard work (mentally challenging) but believe it is very important in order to bring our new learnings into our real world,” said one student.

The group developed their social analysis skills, explored the power of systems, and both celebrated and critiqued the Social Gospel movement of the early twentieth century and its continuing place in church (especially United Church) ethos. A special session (overlapping with the Integration Year learning circle and open to the public) explored prophetic and social justice aspects of Diaconal Ministry with this year’s Companion of the Centre, Aileen Urquhart. Guest Ted Reeves helped us make connections between the Social Gospel and the “eco-communing” movement. And with guest Monica Walters-Field students reflected on the question, “Is power bad?”

“What if we say you’re intrinsically powerful,” Monica said. But that power brings with it the responsibility to share power, to bring others to the table, to include others in setting agendas and naming outcomes. “Okay, I just doubled your work.”

(At various times in the circle we also listened to and discussed “Revolution” by the Beatles, “Revolution” by Nina Simone, and “Talkin’ Bout a Revolution” by Tracy Chapman.)

Each day students spent some time in book study, discussing Ghost Ship: Institutional Racism and the Church of England by Azariah France-Williams and drawing connections to the Canadian context.