Merry Christmas and Happy St. Stephen's Day.
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Common Threads

News and Views from the Centre for Christian Studies

December 26, 2016

Hi Conference of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario !   Happy Feast of Saint Stephen, patron saint of deacons, horses, casket makers, and headaches! Oh yes, and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you as well. Please enjoy this holiday Common Threads, perhaps on your laptop as you sit by the fire and sip some hot chocolate!  Or maybe you're still recovering from a flood of family responsibilities and multiple worship services all in one weekend, in which case, St. Stephen, come do your patron saint of headaches magic!  Blessings. - Scott
The staff of CCS reflect on their learning goals for 2017...

2017: A Year of Learning

At the Centre for Christian Studies we're all about the learning goals and learning plans. It's one thing to be receptive and open to everything around you as an opportunity for learning. (And that's a pretty great thing.) But it's something else to be intentional about your learning; to say this is something I want to learn and I'm going to work at learning it, actively and attentively.  As 2016 packs up its stuff and prepares to move out, I thought it would be nice to check in with the staff of CCS about what they plan to learn in 2017.

Cheryl (Office Admin):
I honestly don’t think that I had ever heard the phrase ‘learning goal’ before working at CCS. I mean, I know about setting goals, and have learned a thing or two over the years, but I’ve rarely, if ever, thought about it in a focused, defined, written down on paper kind of way. My initial reaction to setting learning goals was one of strong internal resistance and more than a bit of self-doubt—what if I can’t do this? 
It’s been just under 2 years now since I’ve been with CCS. And guess what? I’ve learned . . . that I am still capable of learning, that I have a preferred learning style and that I like learning new things (I even retain some of these learnings). So my learning goal for the coming year is to embrace learning, and the stretching and growing pains and ‘I feel like I am living in someone else’s body and mind’ sensations that go with it. And I am grateful for the opportunity. Thank you, CCS, for the nudge.

David (Program Staff): 
2017, we are told, will be a year of celebration in Canada as we commemorate 150 years of nationhood. I am sure there is indeed much to celebrate and I'm sure there is much to lament - though there likely won't be much public lamenting. Honestly, I have pretty patchy knowledge of the history of this land and its peoples, so one of my goals for this year is to learn about "Canada's" history 100 years prior to Confederation and 100 years after confederation. I may need your help. If you have reading recommendations or educational excursions to suggest please send them along.

Maylanne (Principal): 
When I reflect on my life and work in 2016, the themes that come to mind are striving, accomplishment, Sabbath, and creativity. As I look ahead to 2017 and my plan to retire at the end of August, my goal is to learn to let go of some of the striving, become more philosophical about what is accomplished (or not), and to embrace Sabbath and creativity as gifts. This goal is summed up in the “Night Prayer” from the New Zealand Prayer Book: “What has been done has been done, what has not been done has not been done. Let it be.” 

Janet (Program Staff): 
I am looking forward in 2017 to continuing to learn about diaconal ministry here in Canada and abroad, and CCS's work and relationships. On a near daily basis staff, students, volunteers, alumni, and partners contribute such learning and I am fortunate for this generosity.  
As a new Winnipegger, I yearn to learn more about this city, the context of CCS. Winnipeg has multiple peoples, languages (more than you think!), experiences and histories. Living and working in a new community means listening and learning, becoming a part of it through relationships, and discerning one's leading for contributing in a meaningful way.  Also, where to get a good falafel. 

Lori (Development):
Everyday there is a barrage of e-mails from consultants offering webinars, free resources, newsletters, and courses so I can learn to do my development job better. Some of them are really great.  The best one is from Marcy Heim, who tells me what I can do just when I need it most.  Her focus is always on the importance of my mindset in order to do my job well. This year, I want to learn how to approach the development work at the Centre for Christian Studies with a mindset that “all things are possible” as I make connections between our mission and the people who care about it. Marcy is teaching me that “we become what we think about”-- how I think impacts how I present the message.  
But changing how I think is not exactly easy, so this year will be about doing the inner work that allows me to be aware of the personal shadows that prevent me from bringing my best self to what I do. I am discovering that it’s not possible to partition life into separate boxes: inner and outer, work and home, physical and spiritual.  As Parker Palmer says in his book, Let your Life Speak, “We live in and through a complex interaction of spirit and matter, of the powers inside of us and the stuff 'out there' in the world.”  I hope that by looking inward, I will be able to bring what I learn to the outward, communal task of composing a better world. 

Scott (Info and Program Admin):
I've recently become a regional rep to the Playwrights Guild of Canada. (Yes, we have a guild. Aren't you jealous?) One project I've invented for myself in 2017 is to interview as many of the professional playwrights in Manitoba as I can. I want to learn how they make a living - both in the pragmatic and in the spiritual sense. I want to learn what community means to them. I want to learn how as artists they choreograph the dance between creativity and despair. There's no real reason for these interviews; I'm just curious.

Ann (Program Staff):
I am waiting for the Sherbrook Pool to re-open after several years of renovations and delay …as if establishing a regular swimming routine in my favourite pool will chase away the ambiguity that marks my days on medical leave (”restorative care leave” being  the technical term for this six month period).  I am grateful for this provision, relieved that CCS is spared most of the financial burden of my absence from the workplace for this period. The time has been restorative.Time to devote to the concentrated exercise that is the body’s best defence against Parkinson’s Disease. Time to sleep when my body demands sleep. Opportunities to treat the pain that is a constant companion. Respite from the constant work-related stress. But the restorative aspect of Restorative Care Leave doesn’t change the diagnosis and the leave aspect doesn’t describe the sense of vulnerability and uncertainty that comes with being unknown by, yet accountable to, a system with the power to make major decisions about my life until I can retire. Long Term Disability is an excellent resource. The process of application and approval is isolating and unnerving. As someone who has been deeply rooted in community and community decision-making,  the loss of agency is unfamiliar and disconcerting.
So, my goals for the coming year… to live with grace and gratitude in the midst of forms and applications and appointments and documentation and waiting; to make peace with the ambiguity of being “on leave”; to find ways to stay rooted in community; and to become well acquainted with the new Sherbrook Pool.

And how about you? What do you want to learn in 2017? Send us an email or wander over to the Centre for Christian Studies Facebook page and let us know. Maybe we can do some learning together.
On the CCS Website...
(click a title to read the whole article) 
 toddler at CCS reaching for the stars 
Cookies & Carols
Thanks to everyone who came out and made the season bright at our holiday open house.

CCS is Seeking a New Principal
The job posting for the Principal position is now up.  Please spread the word widely.

There's still time to make a gift in 2016.

As we scramble to get everything done so we can start celebrating Christmas, we stop to send you our hopes that you have a blessed Christmas, with unexpected moments of grace and joy.  We are celebrating you, our readers, our supporters, our friends!

You know that this year has been an interesting one as we said hello to new program staff Janet Ross and David Lappano, sent Ann Naylor off with prayers for her health as she went on medical leave, and began the search for a new Principal as Maylanne prepares for retirement.  It’s been another whirlwind year.  But still the best thing about the Centre for Christian Studies is the students that come with their questions, experiences, spirituality, and longing for justice.  It’s been a great year for students.
And the year is not over yet.  There is still time to make a gift in 2016 to help these students.

It’s people like you who make student learning at CCS possible.
Will you make a gift of $25, $50, $100 or more now?
 Donate Now 

You can also mail a cheque by December 31.  If you need help call 204-783-4490 Ext 22 and leave a message.  Someone will respond within 24 hours.

CCS Community

Prayers for...
  • the family and friends of Doug McMurtry (friend of CCS) who died this month. (Doug's first wife, Gwen, was a grad of 1943 and his daughter Norah is a CCS friend and resource person.)
  • the family and friends of Betty Garret (grad 1952), who died last month
  • the family and friends of Allison Sheppard (also a grad of 1952), who died in September
  • the family and friends of Audrey Tobias (friend of CCS), who died earlier this month
  • Penny Lewis (grad 1984) whose husband David died in October
  • Kimiko Karpoff (grad 2011) and her family as her husband Paul moves into hospice
  • Debbie Springer (grad 2012) whose husband is in palliative care.

Upcoming Events

  • CCS office closed for holiday - Dec 26 - Jan 2
  • Ministering by Word & Example session #3 - Jan 7


Continuing Education Opportunities:

- Images of Diakonia – Interpreting the Sacred in Church and World - an online course offered in partnership between CCS and the Church Divinity School of the Pacific.
Copyright © 2016 Centre for Christian Studies, All rights reserved.

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