A Tea Party to Celebrate 20 Years!

The Centre for Christian Studies has been in Winnipeg for 20 years! On November 16 CCS will host an Anniversary Tea Party, physically for friends who are near enough to drop by and virtually for those who are farther away.

Enjoy tea and cupcakes at Woodsworth House if you’re in Winnipeg.
Join us virtually if you’re not. Check here for details.

On the minds & hearts & desks of Integration Year Students

This time of year is both exhilarating and nerve-racking for our Integration Year students as these four prepare for their United Church final Candidacy interviews. One of the tools that helps them prepare is the Credo assignment, which asks them to write a one-page personal faith statement and a 10 page explanatory paper on what informs their theology and understanding of mission and ministry. Alongside this academic tool, students find support in connecting with each other, their mentors and staff, and knowing they have a wide CCS community who are walking with them. Please hold them in your prayers, with the candidates from other streams as well, this next month.

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Incarcerated work crew transforms church

When men from the local correctional facility started volunteering at St. Andrews United in Yorkton, it tranformed everyone. Diaconal minister Jen Dresser shares this story.

Three summers ago, the church people had gone to the lake and no one could mow the lawn. That’s when it started.

Whitespruce Training Centre—a pilot project at a new provincial correctional facility had a new work crew that was looking for things to do. One morning a van pulled up, and six men got out. They mowed grass, trimmed hedges, pulled weeds and came back once a week for the rest of the summer. They washed the big tall windows no one else would climb a ladder to clean.

When fall came, there was less outdoor work, and the work crew was still looking for things to do. They shovelled snow for seniors. They came inside and painted walls, shampooed carpets, cut out templates for children’s programs, made soup mixes for the food shelf, barbequed for the garage sale and moved the big, heavy tables for funerals and teas. There was some discomfort within the congregation about having people from the Whitespruce around. Was it safe? Would things go missing? Would someone get attacked?

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Community, Grief, and Learning: walking together to remember Brody

Community, Grief, and Learning: An Interview with Brenda Curtis and Keith Hall

On April 6, 2018, the bus of the Humbolt Broncos hockey team collided with a semi truck. Sixteen people died, including team statistician Brody Hinz. CCS graduate Brenda Curtis and Integration Year student Keith Hall conducted Brody’s memorial service. Janet Ross spoke to Brenda and Keith about that time.

Brenda: When the first reports came in about the bus crash we were in the middle of an ecumenical community concert at the Catholic Church with the Watoto Children’s Choir from Uganda. The choir had just stepped on stage and was beginning with a countdown: 10, 9, 8, … when someone showed me their cell phone – “Humboldt Broncos have been in an accident”. The choir sang a few songs but soon everyone in the audience had their cell phones out. By 8:15 pm we knew there were fatalities and that they were significant. The choir was asked to wrap up quickly and Father Joseph offered a prayer, naming the uncertainty of knowing about the fatalities. Everyone was invited to go to the Uniplex to wait together for more news. It was interesting that we were all at this concert, including our ecumenical ministerial group, and could all be at the Uniplex together. When we arrived, the city of Humboldt already had counsellors and many support people in place.
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Welcome Back to Fall – a poem for the season

Diane Trollope is a retired diaconal minister in Ontario. 

The warmth is releasing us very slowly
into the era of cool air and colour.
It has been very hot!
Many are facing challenges not asked for after
the horror of fires, floods and loss of life.
We need to love!

We can pray and alter many lives, for both science
and faith have proved it so.
But we can act on those prayers at times and offer
much of God. The Creator walks the streets, roads and paths
with us in every kind of woe and joy Continue reading “Welcome Back to Fall – a poem for the season”

Mother, daughter DUCCs

Alana Martin is a current student at CCS. Her mother, Martha Martin, a diaconal minister, graduated from the Centre in 1998. Courageous Risking, the 2018 gathering of DUCC (Diakonia of the United Church of Canada) happened in Winnipeg this past April.

DUCC 2018

Taking part in several nights of the DUCC Conference was so beneficial. First, spending time with my mom was life-giving! She was having an amazing time introducing me to all of her colleagues and former classmates. And second, when the ‘seasoned DUCCs’ reminisced about their program and their work over the years, I was able to listen in. That’s when I learned the most. So many of them had struggled throughout their careers in ministry to be recognized equally, to be heard, and to be appreciated in their diaconal roles. It is through their hard work and trail blazing that the journey has been relatively painless for me – but that struggle is still underlying the work I do and am preparing for. So, much has changed, and they changed it! But much is still the same. Continue reading “Mother, daughter DUCCs”

Learning twice

The essayist Joseph Joubert wrote “To teach is to learn twice.” The same could be said for the role of a mentor, one who facilitates learning through accompaniment and encouragement. CCS graduate Kathy Douglas had this experience as she mentored two diaconal ministry students this past year. “It is always wonderful to find work in ministry that excited, invites and deepens the life experience,” she said. “Mentoring students at CCS has been this kind of fulfilling practice for me.”

Kathy Douglas

A diaconal mentor accompanies students as they explore the role of, and their own identity as a diaconal minister. A mentor will engage the student in reflection on their own learnings from field placements, learning circles, external courses and life. They’ll dig into theological issues and encourage analysis through the lenses of justice and compassion.

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Reflections on the Rebellion Road Trip

by Lori Stewart

French language lessons took me to St. Boniface in the early part of the summer, where I picked up a small brochure that unfolded to a good sized map of the prairie provinces titled “Sentiers de 1885” or “Trails of 1885. It showed sites that were significant in the Northwest Resistance of 1885.

At the same time, my partner, Paul, was reading a novel called Lord of the Plains: the story of Gabriel Dumont, his wife Madelaine, and the great Northwest Rebellion by Alfred Silver (published by Ballantine Books in 1990), which I also read.

These two converging experiences led us to focus our one-week holiday around the events of the Northwest Resistance of 1885 in what we dubbed the “Rebellion Road Trip”. We wanted to learn more about this part of Canadian history that had been hidden from us. Continue reading “Reflections on the Rebellion Road Trip”

Sharing common stories as the world turns #GC43

During General Council 43, various people will be reporting on what’s happening, sharing moments and offering their reflections.   Tammy Allan and Marlene Britton-Walfall share sites, insights, music and a new Moderator is elected.

Another couple of days have passed. Yesterday we dealt with business in the morning and then had the afternoon for excursion tours to see some of the area beyond Durham College campus. Several tours were organized, and I chose a winery tour to Prince Edward County. Beautiful countryside, lots of trees, the beach, all made for a great drive. Oh, yes, and there was wine. Lovely.

Today, after FIVE ballots, we elected a new moderator, Rev. Richard Bott, from B.C.
Continue reading “Sharing common stories as the world turns #GC43”

DUCCs gather and we bid adieu to Conferences #GC43

 

During General Council 43, various people will be reporting on what’s happening, sharing moments and offering their reflections.  Marlene Britton-Walfall gathers with DUCCs and annoints while the Jenga towers fall.

 

Greetings from Marlene.

Lunchtime on Tuesday was filled with laughter and animated discussion as the DUCCs at GC43 gathered. It was a wonderful time of fellowship, made possible by Marcie, who not only found the space for us, but erected tell tale signs:

 


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Challenges #GC43

Updated, July 25.

During General Council 43, various people will be reporting on what’s happening, sharing moments and offering their reflections.  Marlene Britton-Walfall* reminds us that amongst the fun there is challenge and hard work. 

 

It’s the morning of the 4th day of this meeting in OshaWow!

Devotions this morning challenged us to reflect on times when your boat has been buffeted by waves of various kinds, and challenged to help those who are having their boats battered.  Strengthened by the prayers from the 4 directions we then launched into the business section of the meeting.

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Nous ne sommes pas seuls #GC43

Rev Miriam Spies preaches the Word.

During General Council 43, various people will be reporting on what’s happening, sharing moments and offering their reflections.  Deborah Laforet and Marlene Britton-Walfall found connection at GC43.

General Council is a place to reconnect.  As someone who was a candidate in one conference, a student in another, settled into a third, and am now in a fourth conference, General Council becomes a place where I can connect with people across those conference and across provinces.
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“There is a sense of excitement” #GC43

 During General Council 43, various people will be reporting on what’s happening, sharing moments and offering their reflections. Tammy Allan sets the stage.

 

We have arrived! We are here in Oshawa Ontario at the site of General Council 43. The theme is “Risking Faith, Daring Hope.” The day was mostly devoted to a “Festival of Faith”, with workshops, music, a few food trucks…a celebration of the church’s work and witness, through the arts. There were also opportunities to connect with friends old and new. We gathered for a bit of orientation to the new business model in the late afternoon, and to hear a presentation on the Calls to the Church related to reconciliation with our indigenous brothers and sisters. After dinner, a bit of social time. Those of us from Alberta and Northwest Conference gathered for “cookies and milk” with our conference president, Kathy Yamashita. There was also a welcome party outside on the grounds, with live music…which I can still hear as I type this!

Continue reading ““There is a sense of excitement” #GC43″