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Common Threads

News and Views from the Centre for Christian Studies

March 26, 2021

Hi <<First Name>> ! 
Thanks to everyone who came out to our annual general meeting last night. It was nice to see friends from across the country. (If you missed the AGM and would like to see any reports or documents, you can find them on our website.) And as we move from a busy time at the school to a super busy time at the school, we wish you a hope-filled Easter. Enjoy this month's Common Threads! -- Scott

From the Principal's Desk. . .
Michelle Owens

A year of pandemic living, and my sewing hobby has escalated from face masks to clothing to attempting my first quilt. Like a lot of other pandemic experiences, this has included some research, gathering the right tools and materials and jumping in; learning from my mistakes. Unlike many of my friends in congregational ministry, I am consoled that my learning curve in an unfamiliar medium is not being broadcast every week, or preserved on a YouTube channel.

Although I haven’t attempted a quilt top myself, many other women in my family have – my sister sews vibrant modern quilts for her kids, my mother has made baby quilts while wintering in Arizona – in years when that was possible. The cedar chest at the foot of my bed has quilts from my grandmother and great-grandmother, as well as a beautiful all white quilt handstitched with the images of the three churches of my settlement charge; a going away gift from the congregations.

I have warm memories of sitting with the weekly quilting group, who would fill me in on the news of who was sick and who was celebrating, and who promised that my stitches were acceptable enough that they didn’t need to be discreetly unpicked after I went back to working on the Sunday service. Finished with the formal preparation for ministry, a newly minted graduate of the Centre for Christian Studies, I continued to learn the rhythms and practice of ministry with the women around the quilting frame, one stitch at a time.

We use sewing and fabric arts metaphors and imagery often at CCS (including in the title of this monthly newsletter, “Common Threads”). They speak to me of the inherited traditions and wisdom of women’s diaconal ministry, of the mentorship involved in learning to stitch together layers of cotton and batting or to stitch together a justice coalition or to stitch together a worship liturgy. More than that, the metaphor and action of quilting speaks to me of radical transformation – of taking the risk to begin, to cut apart and re-arrange – to take the concrete and irrevocable steps to bring a new vision into being. We can do this in fabric, in community, in theology and in relationships. There are always risks of failure, the possibility that the end result won’t be quite what we imagined. But so often, the process of transformation brings something unexpectedly more into being.

A year into pandemic living, I hope you too have found new things to try. I wonder what you have picked apart and mended. I wonder what new skills you’ve acquired on the fly in the press of innovation by necessity. I wonder who you are mourning, whose presence lingers in stitches of memory. I wonder what new vision you have sewn together, patchwork piece by piece, working with others in your community.

We have a little more experience and time for planning this spring, and are looking forward to online circles and celebrations in April. I hope you have time to join us for awhile, if not to come for a whole learning circle (still time to enrol for some post-Easter continuing education!) perhaps for one of our Annual Celebration events, which will be online. 

Wherever you are this year, it is wonderful to be connected together with you, common threads creating uncommon visions. 

Michelle Owens, Principal

On the Web...

(click a title to read the whole article)

VIDEO: The Pandemic of Racism

Kim Uyede-Kai was our CCS Friday guest this month, discussing the intersection of racism, particularly anti-Asian racism, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bruce Jackson and the "Keepers of the Water"

CCS student Kristie Pilling talked with CCS alum Bruce Jackson about environmental justice and the personhood of rivers.

We Are Racialized Because We Are Women

Ha Na Park argues for the centrality of racialized women's experience in anti-racism work.

Save the Dates - Celebrations 2021

There will be three online events in April celebrating the 2021 grads and Companion of the Centre, Anne Manikel.

Special Offer

Ammonite Jewelry Fundraiser

Silversmith Robin McGauley is donating 15% of the sales from her spiral-themed Ammonite collection of jewelry to CCS. Visit the CCS website for more information.

CCS Community

  • Prayers for Companion of the Centre Ken Delisle on the death of his partner John Robertson earlier this month.
  • Congratulations to student Hyerim Park on receiving a Rev. Hee Sup Kim Scholarship

Learning Opportunities

CCS Friday (on a Saturday) - April 10:
Profiles in Diakonia

Join us for an online discussion of diaconal heroes. Graduating CCS students have prepared and will present profiles of people who have walked a diaconal path before them. You can also participate in a conversation with this year's Companion of the Centre, Anne Manikel. This is a special 3-hour session for anyone who is interested in the diaconal tradition. You can come for the whole thing or just for half (eg. 10:00-11:30 or 11:30-1:00)

Saturday, April 10 from 10 to 1 Central.
Visit the CCS website to REGISTER.

Practically Prophetic

The Practically Prophetic webinar series, hosted by Prairie Skies Region in collaboration with CCS and St. Andrew's College, continues with a panel discussion on Online Worship, on Wednesday, April 14 at 7pm Saskatchewan time. Click here for more info and to register.

DOTAC - Mondays in May

The Diakonia of the Americas and Carribbean will be hosting an international seminar series online in May.
  • May 3: Rev. Doctor Carlos Emilio Ham - “Diakonia in Times of the COVID Pandemic: Are We Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution?”
  • May 10: Sister Dottie Almoney - “Reclaiming the “D” Word - Diakonia in the Church”
  • May 17: Deacon Dionata Rodrigues de Oliveira - “Brazilian Perspectives on the Diaconate: Empowerment, Diaconal Methodology and Transformation”
  • May 24: Rev. Doctor Margaret Ann Crain - “Full and Equal Order: 25 Years of the United Methodist Order of Deacon”
  • May 31: Rev. Canon Deacon Michael Jackson - “The Diaconate: Seeking an Ecumenical Consensus”
Registration is free. Send an email to Ted Dodd - - for more information. All sessions begin at 1pm Central Time and last about an hour.

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


The Centre for Christian Studies has scholarships available for students and alumni. Application deadline is April 1st.
  • Rutherford Scholarship - for a CCS grad doing further studies in religious education
  • Myers Scholarship - for CCS students or grads doing post-grad religious studies
  • Kent Scholarship - for CCS students from rural or small town Ontario


The Centre for Christian Studies is grateful for its generous donors who continue to support the work of educating leaders for justice, compassion, and transformation. Thank you. 

Looking for two or three people to help with confidential data entry, in your own home, during April (mostly in the first two weeks).   Must have a computer. If you are available and could offer a few hours to this project, please contact Lori Stewart at or 204-783-4490 to discuss details.
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