Viewing healing ministry through diaconal eyes

By Ross White
 

When we are present, we see that there really is a Holy Plan, and that it is happening right now. Consciously participating in the miraculous unfolding of reality is Holy Work and it is the greatest source of satisfaction that we have.” (Understanding the Enneagram, 56)

I am a confirmed eclectic. Many of us are. I feel indebted to several clinical forms of pastoral care like Transactional Analysis, Gestalt Therapy, the Goulding’s, the Kabat-Zinn’s, and Mindfulness training. These therapeutic schools employ the use of sound psychological theory together with skilled application. They all teach valuable insights to life. However, from the earliest days of my spiritual journey, I had a longing for a therapy of a different sort. I’ve known experientially that deep life insights of incredible power are available to me. I knew this power was capable of coursing through my very being: cells, tissues, bones AND mind. It happened to me one night while reading the Gospel of Luke and changed my life. It also started in me a journey fed by a hunger for the mysteries of prayer and meditation . . . something I’d been doing at the time.

It was in 1992 that I began to find a form of healing that matched my understanding of Jesus. Rochelle Graham, then a physiotherapist teaching Healing Touch on the sideline, was invited into Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to do some of her work with church folk offering services to the marginalized and homeless. I met up with her there as she instructed workers and volunteers at First United Church. She noticed that when faith groups were instructed (to use their faith) there came an additional boost of power and energy in the room and in the participants, themselves. A prayer as simple as “thy will be done,” seemed to enable the presence and guidance of Spirit. People began to feel the actual texture of another’s energy field through their hands! The requests from church folk poured in and by 1995 Rochelle had drafted a curriculum designed for healing ministry in churches which became known as Healing Pathway. I want to make some observations in this article about the link between the emergence of Healing Pathway and diaconal ministry. Continue reading “Viewing healing ministry through diaconal eyes”

Courage – worshiping with the Tragically Hip

Courage - a Tragically Hip liturgy

On a cold November night in East Gwillimbury, armed with a live band, two projectors and about 100 glowsticks, 40 people gathered at Sharon Hope United Church to sing, dance and pray along with songs by Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip.  Our theme was Courage, and the many forms it takes in our daily lives.  Each song was paired with a reading from scripture or by contemporary writers.  During the liturgy, we examined the lyrics of “Grace, Too” through the lens of Ruth and Boaz on the threshing floor.  “Nautical Disaster” was paired with multimedia highlighting the refugee crisis in the Middle East.  We sat with the horror and grief of the Residential School system with a reading of “When We Were Alone” by David Robertson and singing “The Stranger” from Secret Path.  

Courage: A Tragically Hip Liturgy was the second in new series of Rock Liturgies hosted by Living Presence Ministry.  Our third,The Frost is All Over, explored the Advent and Christmas story through the work of Canadian folk singer/songwriters.  With these services, we are working though how to treat popular music as hymnody during worship.  What else do these songs have to offer us when intentionally placed within a worship context?  We heard from many of those present that simply having the lyrics projected helped the words they’ve been listening to for years sink in deeper.
Continue reading “Courage – worshiping with the Tragically Hip”

Two weeks to transform your life!

Intense. Spiritually enriching. Faithfilled. Expanding. World-opening. Learning on Purpose: Changing Leadership for a Changing World is two weeks of focussed leadership training, in community, intended to help leaders to dig deep and expand outward.

The next Learning on Purpose will be offered June 11 – 23, 2018 in Victoria, B.C., at Christ Church Cathedral, a short walk from the Parliament region. Continue reading “Two weeks to transform your life!”

Connections

Diaconal ministers seem to love to connect. And November was a month for gathering.

Lori Stewart (not pictured), CCS Development Coordinator, stopped in Kitchener for coffee with Ellen Baynton-Walker, Margaret Collard, Meghan Gilholm, Marilyn Burnard, and Katharine Edmonstone .
Continue reading “Connections”

On coaching and the Enneagram

The Enneagram is a system which identifies nine different personality types as a map for personal development. CCS grad Roland Legge reflects on using the Enneagram in his coaching practice.

Recently I took nine-months of intensive training through the Deep Coaching Institute to learn a coaching model that uses the Enneagram. It is all about learning to live with presence as much as possible in order to experience the world as it is happening at the moment. Presence is accomplished by staying open in your three energy centres – head, heart and body. Continue reading “On coaching and the Enneagram”

Gathering together and drawing wider circles with diaconal sisters and brothers

The Central Committee of Diakonia of the Americas and Caribbean (DOTAC) met this month in Vancouver. DOTAC is both an international and ecumenical organization that connects and gathers those engaged in diakonia. Check them out here http://dotac.diakonia-world.org/.

Diaconal Gathering at Carey Hall, UBC, Thursday, November 9, 2017

Shout out to Ted Dodd and other members of the Central Committee of DOTAC gathered at Regent College’s Carey Hall at UBC recently and who intentionally drew the circle a little wider making room for local diaconal colleagues and friends to join them for an evening of interdenominational reflection, refreshment and renewing conversation. Continue reading “Gathering together and drawing wider circles with diaconal sisters and brothers”

Neighbours ~ a good Samaritan story by Annika Sangster

CCS grad Annika Sangster has published a delightful retelling of the story of the Good Samaritan called Neighbours. We recently talked about the genesis of the book and gaining the confidence to share her creativity. Details for purchasing Neighbours are at the bottom of the article.

 

Neighbours emerged from a Vacation Bible School with a twist. Not just “Bible”, Annika’s church had decided to explore the Golden Rule through different faith traditions. The story Annika wanted to share from the Christian tradition was the Good Samaritan, but she couldn’t find a version that she liked. So she created her own out of plasticine.

“I could see this picture in my head,” she explained. “I wanted [the children] to see the Good Samaritan as a basic person. I made the Good Samaritan an androgynous kind of person, at least that was my intent.” Continue reading “Neighbours ~ a good Samaritan story by Annika Sangster”

Announcing the 2018 Companion of the Centre – Sue Taylor

In my understanding, spirituality is about a sense of connectedness or a search for connectedness: Connectedness within ourselves or a feeling of “being at home” within ourselves; connectedness with others in relationships; connectedness within the wider community or the world; connectedness with the universe or creation and the mystery that we might call God—a connectedness that gives meaning to life.”
~ Sue Taylor

The Companion of the Centre is awarded annually to acknowledge someone who has made a significant contribution to the work of CCS or whose whose life and work epitomizes the ideals of CCS. We are pleased to announce that Sue Taylor will be the 2018 Companion of the Centre recipient. Sue will be presented with the award at the Annual Service of Celebration on April 15, 2018.

Sue has had three main stages to her working career. She trained as a nurse and worked in many caring roles for 27 years until she became aware of her calling to Diaconal Ministry. Continue reading “Announcing the 2018 Companion of the Centre – Sue Taylor”

Music, the Bible and connecting to God

CCS program staff person Janet Ross reflects on Music and Spirituality in the Rupertsland News.

Music has had a significant place in my life and in some ways has been a “character” or perhaps more accurately a kind of dialogue partner in my life story. Music has invited me into new spaces of existence and existentiality, has confronted me, and has comforted me. When approached with the topic for this month’s edition of RLN, I asked if I might include a bit about music and scripture, and then interview two Winnipeg musicians on their understanding of music and spirituality. Thus, the format for this article includes first some roles of music in scripture and, next, comments on experiences of music and spirituality from two Winnipeg musicians, Cate Friesen and John K. Samson.

Read the full article here, beginning on page 5.

“Music unites the worlds of human 
and divine (2 Chronicles 5:13). In
a utopic description, the text
relays that it is only when the
musicians and singers are as
one, in complete harmony,
that divine glory descends to
live among the people.”

Listening brings healing

Racism is not an easy thing to talk about with white people, or so I’ve found. When I was bullied all through grade 7, shoved up against lockers and called “Paki,” my caucasian friends just kept walking, as if they’d seen nothing. I was too ashamed to bring it up myself, so we just acted like it hadn’t happened – even though it happened every single day.

Many years later, at a friend’s 40th birthday party, I sat with 3 of my closest high-school friends. It occured to me that after all these years it might be a good thing for me to share honestly with them about my experiences back in school; the struggles my family went through and why we never talked about them outside of our home.

It did not go well. Continue reading “Listening brings healing”

Mamawe Ota Askihk – Sharing Life Together Here on Earth

Diaconal minister Karen Tjaden reflects on a week at the Sandy Saulteaux Spiritual Centre with Indigenous community leaders and settler allies to reclaim the homebred, the homespoken, the homegrown, and the homemade. Photographs from Michelle Owen’s experience at the  Feast for Friends.

Centred around the sacred fire, a wonderful community based on an immersion experience in sustainable food emerged at Sandy Saulteaux Spiritual Centre this week.  It was a privilege to be part of the circle with Sandy Saulteaux students and other Indigenous people from their communities. Continue reading “Mamawe Ota Askihk – Sharing Life Together Here on Earth”

Ministry in listening, grief and loss

Program staff David Lappano shares thoughts about two fall learning circles.

This October the Centre has offered two learning circles – Ministry as Listening and Grief and Loss. Students were surprised at how much they learned from each other by beginning with sharing a significant sound in their lives. The sound of water lapping under a dock conjured memories of times of rest and friendship. The sound of Canada Geese was associated with spring and accompaniment – the geese’s v-formation an illustration of helping each other travel as the geese shared space in the front. Memories of being called in for meals by parents or the ringing of a bell.

Actor/playwright Debbie Patterson reads from her work “This Is How It Ends” about dying and end of life issues.

Continue reading “Ministry in listening, grief and loss”

Join us in Vancouver!

Join CCS principal Michelle Owens for an evening with ecumenical and international partners in diaconal ministry.

The Central Committee of Diakonia of the Americas and the Caribbean, DOTAC, will be meeting in Vancouver. Along with CCS, they will host an evening gathering on November 9 to celebrate the many and diverse expressions of international and ecumenical diakonia. Continue reading “Join us in Vancouver!”

“Café del Soul” serves change and purpose

Meet Pinegrove UC, a medium-sized church in Rosslyn, NW Ontario. Rosslyn used to be a community of farmers, but with Thunder Bay nearby it’s taking on some characteristics of a bedroom community. Pinegrove used to be the thriving community hub, but when I started there 5 years ago it felt more like a rudderless ship. People pining for the days of yore, when there was hardly enough room to hold the congregation, with a choir that shook the rafters, when there was a thriving Sunday School, when… in short, think your average United Church.

I wasn’t sure how long I’d stay with these lovely but lost people. As a restless person, I felt confined and misplaced. I was eager to form new faith communities, not work with these stuck-in-the-muds. But as I walked with them through times of great joy and deep despair, I got to know them. After a while, I knew them better than I ever thought I would. And with it came love, and with love came an awareness of their God-given potential. I decided to stay a little longer. Continue reading ““Café del Soul” serves change and purpose”