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Common Threads

News and Views from the Centre for Christian Studies

May 26, 2021

Hi <<First Name>> ! 
Even as we're moving into the "wind-down" part of this school year we're already starting to plan for the next year, including this summer's online version of Learning on Purpose. If the past year has inspired you to learn more or to follow a calling that you've been putting off, check out what we've been up to and what we've got coming up. Enjoy this month's Common Threads! -- Scott

Note: There will be a Common Threads next month, and then we'll take a break while the CCS offices are mostly closed in July.

From the Principal's Desk. . .
Michelle Owens

“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all in one place…”
Although it is a mixing of different gospels, when I hear the story of Pentecost, I can’t help imagining the disciples are gathered in the same upstairs room in Jerusalem where they last ate supper with Jesus, where they later locked the doors in fear, and the resurrected Christ appeared to them, where Thomas doubted. I imagine a familiar, comfortable gathering place; a home for them in Jerusalem. 
And I have to say that I have a lot more empathy for the disciples after the last year and a half, for what it is like to wait indefinitely and in the midst of uncertainty in a set of upstairs rooms set above the city streets. Like many other people, I have spent a lot of time at home this year, my world constricted to the suite of rooms that make up a two bedroom apartment and connected to the wider world through the window of my computer screen and the windows looking out over the street. 
The Holy Spirit arrived in the room full of disciples, but astonishingly it was the people outside that inner sanctum who felt the impact of the Spirit’s arrival. Speech poured out in a variety of tongues loud enough to be heard in the street and strange enough that it drew the attention of ‘the crowd’, who heard the sounds of home. People from all around the Mediterranean, from across the whole Roman Empire, stopped in the street and listened.
The Pentecost story makes me wonder what would happen if the Spirit did arrive one Sunday morning, setting us on fire (but not consuming us) and equipping us with speech: not for one another, but for the people outside our gathering. It makes me wonder if I’ve been imagining myself in the wrong place in this story all along. I’m so quick to assume I’m in the room with the rest of the disciples! But if I think about the movement of the Spirit, from the upper room of disciples to my upper floor apartment, I realize that really, I am an extension of the crowd. The Spirit and the Gospel and the Christian community has spread from the street filled with global travellers in Jerusalem to Rome and beyond. To Africa, Europe, and Asia. Across the oceans to Australia and the Americas. All the way across time and distance to me and you here on Turtle Island. Still in the midst of colonizing empires. 
Maybe that is the deeper invitation in the Pentecost story: to step out of our own upper rooms, step out of our assumptions that we are the centre of the story, the speakers, the ones aflame with the Holy Spirit. 
Maybe it’s time to listen to the voices coming from inside other rooms and other communities. Maybe it’s time to hear stories of home from unfamiliar voices, to listen to the roar of the Spirit, catch sight of the flames through a window and let ourselves be transformed by what we hear as others speak to us of home. 

Michelle Owens, Principal

On the Web...

(click a title to read the whole article)

The 2020-2021 Theme Learning Circles

There's something for everyone in next year's learning circles.

Images from Grief and Loss 2021

We explored life, death, and spiritual care for those in grief.

A Caring Presence in the Circle

Over the past year of online circles our students have been blessed with the presence of chaplains and spiritual care providers. June Anderson reflects on her experience.

Mary's Gift

We received a generous bequest from the estate of Mary Naidu, but we don't know a whole lot about how she lived her life and ministry.

A Sense of Finding My Community

Gloria Tozek reflects on her experience in the Certificate in Social Justice program at CCS.

CCS Community

  • Prayers for friends and family of Deacon Lorna Howell who died earlier this month.
  • Congratulations to CCS grads Bri-anne Swan and Alana Martin who are being commissioned this weekend and Rebecca Pike who was commissioned earlier this month. (Karlene Kimber will be commissioned in the fall.)

Learning Opportunities

Learning on Purpose 2021

This year's Learning on Purpose course will be ONLINE from August 16 to 27, 2021. If you’ve been thinking about the Centre for Christian Studies and Learning on Purpose, this is the year for you!

If you know someone who has leadership skills you’d like to see them develop, or a spiritual calling they’d like to discern in a supportive and friendly community, tell them to apply for Learning on Purpose. If that someone is you, apply today.

Tuition cost: $1680
Bursaries are available!

If you have questions about Learning on Purpose, or becoming a Diaconal Ministry student or a Continuing Studies student at CCS, contact Scott at
Apply for a CCS Program Now

TRIPLE Your Gift!

Your donation before June 11 will go 3X as far! 

Alicia needs to be part of Learning on Purpose (LoP) this summer.  She registered for the Diaconal Ministry program last year.  She’s been able join in the courses that we’ve offered online, but Alicia’s missed out on the LOP--a vital piece of her formation.  
We had to cancel last year’s Learning on Purpose due to COVID.  We can’t cancel on Alicia again.  
But it’s not so easy--it’s time consuming, costly, and complicated to move an intensive course like Learning on Purpose from in-person to online.  The Program Staff have to start from scratch.  It’s going to cost $35,000 in time and resources to make it happen.  
I am excited to tell you that a group of generous CCS friends has offered to match donations to help students like Alicia attend the LoP.  They believe so strongly in this ministry and want to encourage others to support the effort.  
From now until June 11, they will TRIPLE your gift so that every dollar you give is multiplied three times.  That means every $1.00 you give become $3.00!  
Will you make a donation TODAY to help Alicia attend Learning on Purpose online?
You have to act fast—this offer is only available until June 11.    
I will donate to create an online LoP for Alicia
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