Images from Ages and Stages 2024

Images from Ages and Stages 2024

From April 10-16, six Diaconal Ministry students from various parts of Canada gathered in Winnipeg to explore Christian education and ministry with people at different points in their life and faith journey. Much of our circle was held at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church (near CCS), as the CCS offices were also hosting the Integration learning circle and the Central Council Face-to-Face that week.

We explored developmental psychologist Eric Erickson’s “8 Stages of Life” through a series of activities and discussion (eg. being led around blindfolded to reflect on a infant’s development of trust or mistrust; sneaking into the sanctuary without permission to reflect on a child’s development of initiative or guilt; writing a draft of your eulogy to reflect on the development of integrity or despair in old age). A video about the circle of life from a Cree perspective that Stan McKay recorded for CCS helped us think about the movements of dependence, independence, interdependence, and dependence once again that weave our lives together. Time with Sunday School teacher (and former CCS Program staff member) Ann Naylor was an invitation to honour children as theologians. A conversation with Ana Aguilera and her daughter Sarah (Ana a youth group leader, Sarah a participant in various youth activities) got us thinking about youth ministry from a few different perspectives. We explored the role of empowerment and autonomy in adult education and wrestled with how to honour and engage people who have a variety of relationships to organized religion.

In the midst of all this, Ages and Stages students took part in the celebrations of this year’s graduating class and the Companion of the Centre. At a joint session of the Ages and Stages circle, the Integration circle, and the Central Council meeting, Companion Marlene Britton continued the focus on education, sharing her reflections on the unique nature of diaconal education, grounded in community. Throughout the weekend, students feasted and worshipped and made connections with the CCS community. Ages and Stages student Kristie brought her husband, Jason, to the banquet. Sitting at a table with other students from the learning circle, Jason commented, “It was like I’m with seven Kristies!” he said.

Three “seasoned” diaconal ministers joined us for the session on ministry with seniors, sharing their wisdom both as ministers and as people who are ministered to. (We wore hats for worship that morning. I can’t quite remember why now, but it was fun!) The student-led session on intergenerational integration started with the planning team making customized lattes for everyone in the class and sharing “life hacks” and intergenerational tips, before launching into a discussion of generational theory and the ways in which history affects us differently. (We were a pretty even mix of Millennials, Gen X-ers, and Boomers.) We finished off the circle with conversations about transformative education and learning that leads to change – in individuals and in structures. We hope that all the students left the circle feeling transformed and encouraged to transform.

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