I was looking things up on-line the other day (also known as displacement activities or avoidance techniques) and came across the curriculum of the Montreal Circus School: balancing, flexibility, juggling, philosophy and ethics…who knew that there could be such an overlap of topics between the Montreal Circus School and In Ministry Year at Dio? Admittedly, I am quite certain the content of the courses is radically different.
Since starting the In Ministry Year at the end of August, no two weeks have been alike. Gone are the days of “if it’s Tuesday and 1 pm, it must be insert name of course here”. This may all be a very clever way of getting students used to reality of working in a parish: no two days the same and keeping any number of plates spinning – pastoral care, education, administration, outreach, (just to name a few of them) and of course, prayer and study. The breadth of topics of study is impressive – from reading the medieval mysticism of The Cloud of Unknowing through reading contemporary theology, all the way to playing with nearly life size puppets in learning about children’s spirituality and education in the church. It’s all challenging and very exciting.
I am getting to know the Church of the Epiphany better; learning to knit (and purl!) with the Knit Wits, and joining in yoga classes. I am also getting to know about the greater community in which the church is set, the people and the organizations that help those in need. The Epiphany community continues to change and grow. Reverend Annie Ittoshat and the Inuit community that has been worshipping in Lachine are moving to Epiphany on the first Sunday in November. I don’t know what the Spirit has in store for us all, but there will be opportunities for new experiences, for fellowship, friendship and learning (the latter perhaps especially for those of us who are non-Inuit).
One of the most important tasks set for In Ministry Year students is theological reflection – reflecting on and examining our experiences and interpreting them through scripture, culture, tradition to gain insight and awareness of God in our lives and experiences. This exercise also keeps the busyness and all of the activities in which we are involved in perspective. Being part of the larger community of the Montreal School of Theology, with students from other Christian traditions, is very helpful – bringing a wider diversity of experience, interpretation, and tradition to the discussion.
In Ministry students continue to participate in community life at Dio. A needed – or at least desirable – skill for parish ministry is the ability to sing, preferably well, and if not well, then well enough not to have the people in the pews reaching for earplugs. These two requirements overlap gracefully at Sunday Compline. Prayer and candlelight, reflection and learning, it’s a luminous combination at any time, not just for those studying for ministry or spinning too many plates. Come and join us in St Luke’s chapel Sunday evenings at 8 o’clock in person or on-line for spiritual rest and refreshment.