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Common Threads

News and Views from the Centre for Christian Studies

November 26, 2020

Hi <<First Name>> ! 
Where did November go? Is it just me? It feels like life alternates between slo-mo and fast forward. I hope this Common Threads finds you well and that you can spend a few normal-speed moments catching up with us. -- Scott

From the Principal's Desk. . .
Michelle Owens

Dear Friends.

If you’ve been in a meeting with me recently when I’ve been leading worship or prayers, you might have noticed I’m re-visiting Lent. As Advent draws near, the prayers and reflections that have been speaking to me are from this year’s United Church Lenten Study “Faithfully Yours”. Three of the contributors are CCS students. Lent and Advent are both liturgical seasons of waiting, and oh, are we waiting!

Waiting to see if the pandemic surge will slow down, waiting for test results, waiting for curbside pickup, waiting to make decisions, waiting for a vaccine…. The reflections formatted as letters are even more appropriate now, as I stock up on seasonal postage stamps, and contribute to my niece learning to read by sending weekly letters for her to sound out.

At the Centre, we are waiting too. We are waiting for a time when it is safe to welcome our students back to in-person learning circles. Waiting for David to return from parental leave. Waiting for a time when our staff can once again meet around the table in the Kay Pearson room, sharing stories about concerts and theatre and trips that are further afield than neighbourhood walks. 

The epistle reading for the first Sunday in Advent speaks to us about waiting, and gives us promises to sustain us as we wait.

So that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by God you were called into the fellowship of the Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

1 Corinthians 1:7-9

As we step into Advent I wonder what each of you is waiting for.

I find myself resting in the assurance that we have already been given the spiritual gifts we need, and the reassurance that communities, individuals and families have been strengthening relationships over distance and through hard times for millennia. Leaning into the words and wisdom of our students reminds me of the generosity of God in blessing us with spiritual gifts. Spending time with our cohort of diaconal mentors reminds me that we are strengthened generation to generation by our connections.  Receiving the generous donations in response to our end of year fundraising campaign reveals our community's ongoing commitment to offering transformative education through the Centre.

As we slip into a next season of waiting, may we also be preparing: sharing our gifts, material and spiritual; sharing our visions of a re-imagined body of Christ; sharing our faith and fellowship. 

Faithfully Yours,
Michelle Owens

On the Web...

(click a title to read the whole article)

Tapestry - Winter 2020

The latest edition of the CCS donor newsletter is now available.

Spring 2021 Circles Moving Online

The Living Scripture, Grief and Loss, and Integration learning circles will be online intensives. Check out the updated schedule.

Word of Hope, Example of Ingenuity

Marcie Gibson reflects on how Ministering by Word and Example, the online course on the diaconate in the Anglican tradition, is going.

Competency Based Theological Education

Michelle Owens finds some theology programs that speak our language.

Spiralling with Sandy-Saulteaux

Janet Ross and Scott Douglas introduced students at the Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre to the CCS Action-Reflection Spiral.

CCS Community

  • Prayers for Tracy Robertson on the death of her father earlier this month.


  • Leaside United Church is looking for a part-time interim young families and youth leader. For more information contact 

Cookies and Carols - The Pandemic Edition

Every December at CCS we use the Christmas season as an excuse to invite folks to Woodsworth House for an afternoon or evening of singing, snacking, and convivial hanging out.

This year, not so much. Woodsworth House is closed to the public, gatherings are discouraged, and singing?!? We thought about a zoom carolling event, but if you've ever tried group singing on zoom you know it's an exercise in frustration.

So this year, around the time we'd normally be gathering with friends of CCS in Winnipeg, we'll send out a playlist of our favourite Christmas songs and carols, along with some of our favourite cookie recipes. (We'll post it on the website too, so you can add your own favourites in the comments.) Each of us can sip our apple cider (or whatever) in the safety or our own homes, but together in spirit.

CCS Friday - Dec 4:
Apocalyptic Christmas

Join us for this lunch-time workshop with guest Nancy Sanders. We’ll discuss the biblical and theological traditions of apocalypse, their connection to the Christmas story, and their relevance for the particularly weird season we’re heading into.

CCS Friday sessions will be on a Friday from 12:00 to 1:00 Central Time and in the form of a Zoom workshop.  There will be a presentation that will be recorded for future viewing, plus opportunities to engage with the ideas in small groups.

Sessions are free but you must register.  Visit the page for the event you’re interested in and find the "register" link.

Upcoming sessions:

  • Tentative 2021 dates: January 8, February 12, and March 12.

Your Help is Urgently Needed

There have been major challenges this year with Covid 19.  And your help is needed now, more than ever.  
Cancelling the 2020 Learning on Purpose course meant a loss of $25,000 in tuition income.  AND not getting new fulltime students who usually come to CCS that way.

On the heels of those losses, we received news that dealt another blow: a cut to the United Church grant of $26,000.  This is money CCS relies on.
As a result, CCS faces a shortfall of $51,000.  So I am concerned. 
I am also encouraged. You care about the leadership CCS graduates offer the church.  That is worth continuing.

Your gift today will help erase that shortfall.  Send your donation before December 31, so we can end the year strong.

Michelle Owens (Principal)

BONUS: If you visit CanadaHelps before Nov. 30th and tell them how you plan to celebrate Giving Tuesday (eg. making a donation, volunteering, spreading the word), you can enter CCS in a draw to win $5000!
Support CCS

Upcoming Learning Circles...

Great continuing education opportunities! All these circles will be online, so you can take them wherever you are.
Apply for a CCS Program Now
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