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Common Threads

News and Views from the Centre for Christian Studies

January 26, 2021

Hi <<First Name>> ! 
Happy February. Did the groundhog of your soul see its shadow this month? May the memory of spring keep your heart warm in the long tail of winter. Enjoy this edition of Common Threads. -- Scott
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From the Principal's Desk. . .
Michelle Owens


Like any good spiritual practice, backing up your computer is something you want to be in the habit of doing regularly before you need it.

In related news, my laptop refused to boot up last week, and needed to be re-formatted by our tech support people. It was another moment when I was very grateful that CCS has had good backup systems, and moved to cloud storage a couple of years ago. I can’t imagine how we could have pivoted to people working at home during the pandemic if we’d still been running with a physical server in the building. And I can’t imagine how much I would have panicked if any of our important files had been stored on my about-to-be-wiped hard drive.

Along with cloud storage, we had moved into online learning circles before the pandemic. One of our early online classes focused on spiritual practices. We miss gathering together in one place for learning circles, but with our field based education program we are accustomed to having our students spread across the country. And as much as we miss gathering together in one place for learning circles, I’m glad our program has so many elements, so that students are still connecting with mentors and learning in field placements.  We’ve been practicing resilience in our program design for a long time, and learning at CCS continues to be resilient as we turn into our second year of living in a pandemic.

Maybe your resilience is feeling thin and stretched? Or your spiritual practices unmoored by distance from in-person worship? Or your heart worn sore from missing loved ones?

We enter a Lenten wilderness this year that feels both restricted and wide; as endless as uncertainty and as enclosed as the four walls of life under quarantine. Our practice of careful listening becomes essential as we listen to mask muffled words. Our habits of attentive presence teach us to look for smiles in eyes, for body language that communicates across a six-foot gap or a computer screen.

I hope you have a little space for wilderness this Lent. I hope you give yourself the gift of time for your spiritual practices. And lastly – I hope you take a few minutes to make sure your backups are up to date and working!

Michelle Owens, Principal

CCS Annual General Meeting - March 25, 2021


Mark your calendar. The Centre for Christian Studies annual general meeting will be Thursday, March 25 at 6:00 pm Central Time. All friends of CCS and those who are interested in the work we do are invited to attend. It will be online via Zoom. Please REGISTER.

On the Web...

(click a title to read the whole article)

VIDEO: Holding a Virtual AGM

Speaking of annual meetings, February's CCS Friday discussion focused on tips and advice for holding a church annual meeting online.

Remembering Sue Taylor

Sue Taylor died this month. We've reprinted her citation from when she was awarded Companion of the Centre.

Who Gets To Be A "Rev"

Michelle Owens explores the question of whether deacons and diaconal ministers should call themselves (or let others call them) "Reverend."

Learning on Purpose 2021 Will Be Online!

With the future of travel and public gathering still uncertain, we have decided to hold our 2021 Learning on Purpose course online, August 16 to 27, 2021.

Images from Worship 2021

The online learning circle on worship ended last week. Five students and many guests explored the theology and practice of worship.

Save the Dates - Celebrations 2021

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

Spring 2021 Continuing Studies Opportunities

This may be the perfect time to reflect on your calling or deepen your leadership skills or explore a topic you’re passionate about or reconnect with learning in community.

CCS Community

  • Prayers for the family of friends of Companion of the Centre Sue Taylor who died earlier this month.
  • Prayers for Bri-anne Swan on the death of her father this month.
  • Prayers for Susan Butler-Jones on the death of her father this month.

Learning Opportunities

CCS Friday - March 12:
The Pandemic of Racism

Join us for an online discussion of the ways in which the covid-19 pandemic exposes long-standing racial divisions and systemic injustices, and perhaps to imagine opportunities for change. Our special guest will be Kim Uyede-Kai.

Friday, March 12 from noon to 1 Central.
Visit the CCS website to REGISTER.

Practically Prophetic


Prairie Skies, in collaboration with CCS and St. Andrew's, is launching a webinar series with practical tips for ministry. The first two sessions are on Grief, Anxiety, and Depression.
  • Mon, March 8 at 7pm SK time - Basic facts about grief, anxiety, and depression
  • Mon, March 15 at 7pm SK time - Self-help strategics for managing mood disorders and supporting others
Click here for more information 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 - teddodd@live.com - 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

Scholarships


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

Job Opportunity


The Territory of the People is seeking a staff person for St. Saviour's Anglican Church in the historical town of Barkerville, BC, who will dress in 1872 period costume and serve as the first priest, the priest's wife, or the church organist, greeting tourists and conducting worship services from May 17 to Sept 6. For more information, contact Rt. Rev. Linda McKoen at bishop@territory.anglican.ca

Development

The temptation for those of us who work in the areas of development, fundraising, or even stewardship, is to get into a scarcity mindset. In fact, Jeff Schreifels suggests, in western, white-male-dominated culture, it is common to assume there is “not enough” so that getting and holding on to as much as possible is a common pursuit. Even Christian organizations and churches can fall prey to a philosophy (theology?) of scarcity which leads to worrying and seeking funding out of fear of not having enough.

But Schreifels cautions, “When getting the money becomes the sole objective, no matter how great the intentions are with what to do with that money, people get mistreated and hurt in the process.” If, instead, we believed there is enough out there, the task would be to inspire folks to share their abundance willingly, so they could experience the joy of giving. 

If we thought there is enough, fundraising wouldn’t be about money but about building authentic relationships that connect people with satisfying ways to make the world a better place.

At the Centre for Christian Studies we are constantly reminded that “there is enough”. Those of you who are donors, are unbelievably generous is sharing your abundance in ways that are a blessing to many. God’s power is at work and is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). There is enough!

Lori Stewart
Development Coordinator
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