The CCS blog is moving

refresh-browserRefresh your browser, update your bookmarks, dunk your cookies in milk, whatever seems appropriate.  Articles, reflections, and news updates from the Centre for Christian Studies can now be found on the CCS website .  The centreforchristianstudies.wordpress.com site will show a feed of recent articles and posts (and, you know, might be drawn into service in times of crisis, like if the server hosting our website crashes).  If you haven’t yet, why not wander over to the CCS website and check it out.

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Happy New Year from the Principal

maylanneEpiphany, which falls on Sunday, January 6, is traditionally a season that focuses on the Church’s mission – deriving, no doubt, from the story of the encounter with the Christ child of wise and gifted visitors from other lands, cultures, and possibly faith traditions. We associate their offerings of gold and incense and myrrh with wealth, prayer, and mortality – the stuff of striving, spirit, life, and death.

For me it is also a story of risk: the risk of leaving the familiar, of alienating authority, of staking one’s future on the fragile signs of an unwed mother, a newborn child, a star.

As CCS enters a new year, I think about the uncertainties we face and the risks we need to take if we are to keep true to our mission and move forward in hope and faith.

Later this month, CCS will be hosting a consultation here in Winnipeg bringing together members of our program staff and committee, with wise and gifted leaders in adult and theological education, diversity, digital technology, and ecumenical collaboration. My hope is that this event will point CCS in new directions for our program and curriculum – its content, delivery, and partnerships.

We also face risks and new directions in how we approach our finances. Marc Desrosiers resigned six months ago, though you would never know it, as he has continued on contract to distribute Common Threads and to receipt the generous donations we have received in response to the fall campaign. However, this will be his last issue, and donations for 2012 will soon be closed. Marc, we say thank you and goodbye once again, but we know it is more likely au revoir than adieu, and look forward to having you as a good Friend!

In the meantime the Finance and Human Resource Committees have been working hard to consider and prepare for new options in how CCS will staff and plan for fund development. CCS has depended on the consistent financial support of the United Church of Canada – which, though generous, has been steadily diminishing for many years. A deeper reduction in their annual grant is expected in 2014 so it’s time to leave the familiar, to seek resources and wisdom in other places, to look for signs, however, fragile, that will help to point us toward a new future.

With the wise and gifted visitors who followed a star, we too are looking for signs and messages that will give hope and direction to CCS. But following these signs will necessarily involve striving, spirit, and life and death risk. Thank you to all of you who have supported us in our journey thus far, giving us confidence to try new things and go in new directions.

May 2013 bring you every blessing.

Second Fridays – Theology of Diversity – Ecumenical Connections

Second Fridays header“Second Fridays” are back.  The Centre for Christian Studies’ popular series of lunch-hour presentations steps in to 2013 on January 11th with a discussion of the Theology of Diversity from an ecumenical angle.  Our guest speakers will be Michele Barr and Virginia Platt.  Come for noon at 60 Maryland St. in Winnpeg.  Bring your lunch and a curious mind.

Michèle Barr, a diaconal minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, has lived out her ministry through leadership music and worship in Winnipeg. As well, she has worked with pre-school children in the inner city. For almost a decade, she has been actively involved in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Virginia Platt’s first active involvement with ecumenical social justice work began in 1978, when Canadian Churches, through Ten Days for World Development, endorsed the boycott of Nestle products because of the corporation’s aggressive promotion of infant formula in developing countries. She has served as staff person for the regional Ten Days group and a volunteer with KAIROS, the successor to Ten Days and other Canadian church-based social justice coalitions. Ecumenism came naturally to her as she grew up with a Methodist mother, Presbyterian father, Episcopalian cousins, and Evangelical United Brethren grandparents. Presently she is a member of an Anglican church in Winnipeg.

Want to check out the upcoming Second Fridays?  Download the brochure.  February will focus on Theology of Diversity – Interfaith Dialogue and March will be on Theology of Diversity – Multiculturalism.

Tapestry – 120th Anniversary Edition

Cover of the the Winter 2012 Tapestry newsletter

The final edition of Tapestry has been mailed out to those in the CCS community who don’t have email (or who just like holding things in their hands) and is being sent out electronically.  You can also download it from the Tapestry page.  This special edition features articles from and about our 120th anniversary celebration.

New Look for 2013

people holding hands with 2013

All the best for you in 2013!

It’s a new year, and with a new year comes a new look for the CCS website and blog, a new format for our regular “Common Threads” updates, and new forms for students.  Things might get a little jumbly in the next while as we put all this newness in place, so please bear with us.

(If you’re looking for something on the blog or the website and you feel like it’s been misplaced in all the new year’s cleaning, let Scott know at sdouglas@ccsonline.ca and he’ll try to help you out.)

Theology of Simplicity – Second Fridays

Just in time for Christmas comes this reflection from Lynda Trono as part of CCS’s monthly Second Fridays series.  Lynda and Jennifer deGroot presented on Friday,  December 14th, 2012 at CCS, followed by an engaging discussion on the challenges of living simply.

For her presentation, Jennifer deGroot read the children’s story “The Three Questions” by Jon Muth.  The video features a bit of the discussion following the two presentations.

Merry and simple Christmas!

A Starbucks cup with a nutcracker looking suspiciously like Guy Fawkes

Merry Christmas – Embrace the World

Peace and Joy in this holy season, from your friends at the Centre for Christian Studies

Congratulations on still being here!  The end of the world not-actually-predicted by the Mayan calendar surprisingly didn’t actually occur.  Go figure.

But it is the solstice, and with this longest night comes a shift.  Light will grow, days will lengthen, new possibilities will arise.  With Christians (and many non-Christians) around the world we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus and the hope that it bring.  And along with the many First Nations activists across Canada who are gathering today to raise awareness of the treaty covenants that  need to be honoured in our land, we hope and pray for new and better commitments to right relationship.  The world hasn’t ended yet, so let’s work together to make it a world of peace, justice, compassion, and respect for all.

The CCS offices will be closed from Christmas until the new year, so please accept our wish to you for a blessed Christmas and a new year full of growth and new possibilities.  … Assuming we get to the new year.  The calendar on my wall just stops after December 31st, so that has me a bit worried!