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Common Threads

News and Views from the Centre for Christian Studies

October 26, 2020

Hi <<First Name>> ! 
Hey, you're catching us right in the middle of the Eco-Justice learning circle. Fun times! I hope you enjoy this month's Common Threads. -- Scott

Michelle Owensfrom the principal's desk. . .

October is a month full of connections for me: I have a couple of national meetings that gather in October, we have two learning circles, and I have often made it home to my parents’ for Thanksgiving with family, including my kids. This year all these connections translated into online meetings and gatherings and phone visits. And I have found that often our small talk -  checking in between provinces - has included local updates on coronavirus counts and surges, as much as we have compared weather.

Our Ministry as Listening and Eco-Justice learning circles have convened online, and our students (and staff) have continued to adapt to the challenges of integrating learning in our homes, while we forge and foster connections across distance. Our Ministering by Word and Example course, focusing on Anglican deacons, starts at the end of the month.  I miss the sounds of students arriving at Woodsworth House for the fall circles – the singing, the laughter, the thoughtful silences and the feet going up and down the stairs. Some of our students miss the focused time-apart that comes with travelling to Winnipeg for circle, the gift of time and gathered community to focus on learning, and continue theological conversations over supper.

And yet, we have much to be thankful for! Most of our students have the internet connectivity needed to support long zoom gatherings. We have learned to recognize one another’s pets, living rooms and family members. And as profoundly unsettling as this upheaval is, all the shifting opens space for us to question assumptions. Months into the pandemic, cracks are starting to show, and the line from Leonard Cohen reminds us that “there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light comes in”.

Many times this month, my mind has turned to our ancestors. To the deaconesses who served overseas, and were away for years at a time. Who maintained friendships and cultivated support for their ministries through thin airmail letters. I’ve thought of my grandparents' experiences during the wars. I’ve thought about the deadly apocalyptic arrival of smallpox in Indigenous communities, and the leap of faith that immigrant ancestors took across oceans.

I think about how faith and ceremony and prayer sustained our ancestors, and continue to connect us to them and to one another.  I think about how diaconal practices of listening connect us and hold space for people to speak their truths. I think about listening to the land and the water. I think about how leadership that centres justice, compassion and transformation is needed today, just as it was needed in the past. I think about all of you – who care about education at the Centre for Christian Studies, and support us with your time and energy and financial gifts and prayers.

October continues to be a month full of connection. And much gratitude.

On the Web...

(click a title to read the whole article)

Take Us To Church

This Sunday is CCS Sunday. Highlight the work of the Centre in your worship service and celebrate diaconal education.

Images from Eco-Justice 2020

The social justice learning circle on our relationship to earth is running from Oct 21 to 28.

Images from Ministry as Listening 2020

The spiritual care learning circle on the power of listening was held Sept 30 to Oct 7, 2020.

Plagues and Protest

Janet Ross explores the plagues of Exodus in October's Rupert's Land News Magazine.

Word and Example

The Ministering by Word and Example online course on the deacon's ministry in the Anglican tradition starts on Oct 31.

CCS Community

  • Congratulations to CCS grads who are being commissioned to diaconal ministry this fall. On Oct 3 Lorrie Lowes was commissioned at Rideau Park UC in Ottawa by Eastern Ontario Regional Council. On Oct 16 Kim McNaughton was commissioned at Highlands UC in North Vancouver by Pacific Mountain Regional Council. Barb McGill and Christina Crawford are being commissioned at Grace UC in Sarnia, Antler River Watershed, Region 7. Karen Orlandi will be commissioned on November 15 at Norval United Church in Georgetown, Horseshoe Falls Region, and Joe Kadi continues his ministry of education at the University of Calgary.
  • Prayers for the family and friends of Ron Williams, friend of CCS and former Central Council member, who passed away this summer.


  • Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls - Oct 28 at 7pm Eastern Time, an online presentation as part of "Wet’suwet’en Witness: Making the justice connections with Northern Ontario" series. (Thank you, Kay Heuer, for letting us know.)

CCS Friday - Nov 6:
Queer Biblical Interpretation

Join us for this lunch-time workshop with guest Janet Ross. See scripture with new eyes.

Second 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.

A Shout Out to All You Monthly Givers!

You know that giving through PAR, Canada Helps, or Payroll Deduction is:
  1. Convenient
  2. Painless
  3. Good for your budgeting
  4. Good for the CCS budget
  5. A way to give more by giving small amounts each month
You also know that in this way a little can produce a lot.

Keith Simmonds signed up for PAR two years after he graduated, in 2010.  In the last 10 years he has supported the education of 51 students.  And since they graduated, those leaders have offered ministry that has made a difference to people’s faith and life.  Keith says, “The amount I give monthly to CCS probably wouldn’t make a dent in a couple of cups of coffee these days, but I know my part combines with others and between us, we add up. Many monthly mites matter.”  Keith’s monthly amount has multiplied over nine years to make things happen.  

Yay Keith!  And three cheers for all of the rest of you 82 folks who give monthly!

You could become the 83rd monthly giver!  

Just send a note to Lori at to set it up.

Upcoming Learning Circles...

Great continuing education opportunities!
Apply for a CCS Program Now
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