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Common Threads

News and Views from the Centre for Christian Studies

September 26, 2021

Hi <<First Name>> ! 
Let's do this thing! We've got some looking back at learning circles wrapped up in the last month, and looking forward to what comes next, including the return of CCS Friday online learning and discussion events this Friday, upcoming fall learning circles, and an update on the Principal search in the new year. Enjoy this month's Common Threads! -- Scott

From the Principal's Desk. . .
Michelle Owens

In the fall and winter the staff at CCS set aside a day for planning, education and team building. It’s a highlight day of the year for me – one of the concrete ways our team grounds ourselves in sacred community – living out the values of the Centre in our work. 

In our time together in September, we spent some time reflecting on change. Thinking about change as a constant, I had an image come strongly to my mind – the surface of a lake, water rippling and reflecting. Maybe the image of the lake surface is lingering from summer evenings when I enjoyed afternoons at the lake with my family and evenings watching the sunset over the water. 

The CCS community reminds me of a lake – responsive to the winds or the Spirit, the surface shifts and transforms, reflecting the light around it. And yet there is a constancy of presence, as each endures through the seasons and years. Our engagement with lake or community will change through time – sometimes diving deep and other times walking across a frozen surface. Some years we are fully immersed, and other times might feel we are catching glimpses from a distance. 

I am finding September is flying by, and suspect the same might be true for many of you. In the midst of whatever busy-ness is finding you this autumn season, I hope you are finding time for rest, reflection and connection to community. 

May we each reflect God’s love
Like every ripple reflects the sky
May we be refreshed and renewed by the Spirit
Like fresh water from an ever-flowing spring
May we be surrounded and supported by our community
Like effortless floating in still water
May we be open to change
Like every ripple
May we be open to change
Like fresh water flowing
May we be open to change
And trust our community to keep us afloat

Michelle Owens, Principal

From the CCS Co-chairs. . .

As the Centre prepares to bid farewell to our extraordinary principal, Michelle Owens, the staff and Central Council are already hard at work paving the way for the selection of a worthy successor.
We are working on two tracks. 
First will be to name someone to serve as an interim principal from the beginning of January until a new principal is in place. The Council has entrusted three of its members to bring a recommendation to its November meeting, if at all possible. Already, our staff have identified those aspects of Michelle’s work which they could manage on a short-term basis, or which could be postponed in the short. This information will assist the working group to determine what skills and gifts we need in the meantime. We believe that we will be looking for someone to serve approximately half-time. 
Second, of course, will be the search for a new principal. The Centre has clear policies and procedures for this work, and so we have asked the Chair of the Staff Support Committee, Mona Denton, to launch the process. Our hope is to have someone in place for the beginning of the 2022-2023 academic year. At the same time, doing it right is more important than doing it fast!
One way the CCS community can help is to stay abreast of the process, and to nudge potential candidates to consider applying. 
Sadekie Lyttle-Forbes & M. Ansley Tucker
Co-Chairs of Central Council

On the Web...

(click a title to read the whole article)

Call for Companion of the Centre Nominations

"I am among you as one who serves." If you know someone who epitomizes the values of CCS, consider nominating them for the Companion of the Centre award.

Images from LoP 2021

"I didn’t realize just how well such a diverse grouping of folks from across this vast land could gel and become a caring community so quickly!"

Reflections on UCC Admissions Orientation circle 2021

Last month CCS hosted an orientation learning circle for 17 ministers from other denominations preparing to enter the United Church.

What is Church For?

In their fall learning circle, students in the Integration Year brainstormed their thoughts on the meaning of church.

CCS Friday returns

This Friday, October 1 at noon (Winnipeg time): "Indigenous Autonomy and Theological Education". Adrian Jacobs from the Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre discusses Indigenous testamur. Free for everyone. Register HERE.

CCS Fridays are monthly online conversations to help us all to respond faithfully to emerging issues in local contexts.  These workshops are open to anyone who might be interested. Each session will be on a Friday from 12:00 to 1:00 CT 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.

Make Christ's love known by word and example

Returning this fall!  MINISTERING BY WORD AND EXAMPLE …a course for people interested in discernment, formation, or ongoing learning about being an Anglican  deacon. 

This is a 12-session online program, based on the competencies needed for a deacon found in the Iona Report. It will be held Saturday mornings and Monday evenings from October 30 to December 6.  Read more about it here

If God is calling you, check it out yourself, or pass the information on to Anglicans you know. 

Upcoming Learning Circles


Culture and Identity

September 29 to October 6, 2021


Right Relations

October 21 to 28, 2021

Ministering by Word and Example

October 30 to December 6, 2021
Saturday mornings and Monday evenings

Spiritual Practice

January 11 to February 17, 2022
Tuesday and Thursday mid-days

More upcoming circles...

Apply for a CCS Program Now

Community News

  • Congratulations to Susan Roe-Finlay who was ordained to the diaconate by the Anglican diocese of Rupert's Land on Sept. 11. (below: Rev Deacon Susan Roe-Finlay with Bishop Geoff Woodcroft)


  • Thornhill United Church in Thornhill, ON, is looking for a full-time Minister of Christian Development. You can find a position description on their website - or contact for more information.
  • The Anglican Diocese of Rupert’s Land and the Roman Catholic Dioceses of Winnipeg and St. Boniface are offering training in "Catechesis of the Good Shepherd" -  a Montessori-based form of Christian religious formation for children starting at the age of 3 that seeks to nurture the children’s relationship with God in a sacred space that includes hands-on materials, in which both the children and their catechists can listen, ponder and celebrate the most profound mysteries of the Christian faith. For more information contact Koreen Hrizai at or Heather Lampman at

Why is Margarete Smiling?

Well, when I was a student at the Centre for Christian Studies, this is the way she greeted me. Margarete Emminghaus always offered a welcoming presence even in her behind-the-scenes financial work as Bursar.  
 A graduate and a Deaconess, Margarete’s ministry was about stepping up and meeting the needs that were in front of her. She started out welcoming immigrants to Canada, and went on to work in various ministries in Christian Education. Eventually, Margarete came to the newly amalgamated Anglican and United school (now CCS) where she became Assistant to the Principal.  Over the years, she took on many roles, capably meeting needs as they arose.
I can imagine Margarete smiling now, because she is happy to be supporting a place that matters to her.  Even after her death, she is making sure that students are prepared to follow Jesus into the community. They are ready to face difficult questions and sticky problems, and meet the needs before them in ministry.

It is no surprise that Marg decided to give a gift to CCS at the end of her life.  As a supporter with both her time and money while she was alive, she continued that commitment far into the future.

Make someone smile!  A gift in your will is your chance to have an impact beyond your lifetime.  If, like Margarete, you are interested in ensuring that education in the tradition of diakonia continues being offered at the Centre for Christian studies, now is the time to think about leaving a gift in your will.

It is easy to set up.  It supports student learning.  It’s a way to make a gift in the future that you may not be able to afford now.  You can give a specific amount, leave a percentage of your estate, or donate what remains from your assets.  
To learn more about making a gift in your will, contact Lori Stewart at

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