Diaconal Ministries Diploma Program

Do you feel called to diaconal ministry? Students with a Diploma in Diaconal Ministries from the Centre for Christian Studies are eligible to be considered for commissioning as diaconal ministers in the United Church of Canada or ordained as deacons in the Anglican Church of Canada.

CCS’s 4-year Diploma in Diaconal Ministries: Studies in Transformation and Action is an intensive community-based program which enables students to remain in their resident location while completing the requirements for diaconal or lay ministry.

Course Requirements


  • 1 Learning on Purpose circle
  • 12 Theme Learning Circles
    •  minimum 3 Spiritual Care
    • minimum 3 Social Justice
    • minimum 3 Education & Worship
  • 3 Field Placements
    • maximum 2 in same setting
  • 3+ Diaconal Praxis Years
    • for each active year in the program
  • 8 Academic Courses (externals)
    • taken at a recognized educational institution
    • required courses:
      • Introductory Theology, Christian Scriptures, Hebrew Scriptures
      • Elective Theology, Christian Scriptures, Hebrew Scriptures
      • Christian Ethics
      • Church History
  • 1 Global Perspectives Experience
    •  includes pre- and post- trip learning
  • 3 Integrating Circles
    • taken in final year of the program


There are four main components to the 4-year diploma program:

  • Theme Learning Circles
  • Field Education
  • External Academic Courses
  • Praxis

Theme Learning Circles are 6-day in-person intensives (or 6-week online courses), exploring various themes in ministry and faith-based leadership and action.  Learning Circles include readings, assignments, and group work.  Two in-person Learning Circles are offered back-to-back in the fall, and two back-to-back in the spring.

Field education is arranged within the student’s home area with learning facilitation on site or nearby. A Learning Facilitator is available on-site (or nearby) to reflect with the student on the practice of ministry. In addition, each student meets with a local lay committee which provides support and opportunities for reflection on field learnings.

External Academic Course requirements may be completed close to the student’s home or by correspondence through other theological schools or universities. Both the institutions and the courses chosen must be approved by CCS staff.

Praxis is the ongoing learning community for all diaconal ministry students across the country. Students set their own learning goals and plans for the year in consultation with program staff. Throughout the year reflection papers ask students to make connections between what they are learning (in learning circles, external, elsewhere) and their experience. Each student connects with a learning partner, and with a Diaconal Mentor with whom they explore questions of diaconal identity and perspective. Diaconal students do a Praxis component for every year they are active in the program.

Experienced students inform us that full-time work along with diploma program studies is not advisable.


The Centre for Christian Studies has partnership agreements with a certain degree-granting theological schools, allowing students to earn a Bachelor or Master degree.  Students must complete the CCS Diploma in Diaconal Ministries program with the majority of their external academic courses taken at the degree-granting school, as well as other requirements (eg. a thesis).  It is recommended that CCS students wishing to pursue an academic degree apply to a partner school early in their studies.

St. Stephen’s College, Edmonton – Bachelor of Theological Studies and Master of Theological Studies in Diaconal Ministry (See SSC admission and program requirments)
St. Andrew’s College, Saskatoon – Master of Theological Studies degree


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See “Courses and Circles” for descriptions of our courses and the various components of the CCS programs.