We are delighted to welcome Deanna Zantingh as our new Keeper of the Learning Circle and Rob Smith as our new Keeper of the Centre. Deanna and Rob join our Keeper of the Circle Adrian Jacobs, our Administrative Assistant Gail Larson, our Bookkeeper Sandy MacGean and our Business Assistant Erica Young.
As Keeper of the Learning Circle, Deanna Zantingh will be providing leadership in our Ministry Training Program. In her own words, Deanna brings “my passion for reconciliation as the work of the church and my love for teaching within a relational approach to education that combines and respects Indigenous tradition.” She is completing her Masters of Theological Studies at Canadian Mennonite University with a thesis examining land and identity, as a means of highlighting the prophetic voices of Indigenous people for the church today. Deanna shares some of her story in this presentation at the Mennonite Church Canada Native Assembly in 2014:
As Keeper of the Centre, Rob Smith will be involved in funding development, financial management, overseeing our facilities and retreat centre hospitality. A longtime friend of the Centre, Rob brings 32 years of varied business experience to this role as well as extensive experience in the United Church in his local congregation and presbytery. He has been part of two recent Learning Circles at SSSC. Rob shared his experience studying “Western Systematic Theology and Indigenous Theologies” with us in January:
Grace United Church is a multigenerational, musical, caring congregation located on the Grand River where it meets Lake Erie. We are looking for a minister that has a passion for preaching while blending traditional and contemporary approaches in our worship service.
We welcome a mister who values and is comfortable with pastoral care alongside our pastoral care committee.
Our new minister should be ready to support the work of our Official Board and have innovative ideas to take our church into the community.
The Native Ministries Consortium at Vancouver School of Theology offers Summer School courses that are nonsectarian and interdisciplinary. Courses examine historical and social data, literary-oral traditions, artistic and other cultural aspects of Indigenous religions. Courses also examine the philosophical and theological dimensions of Indigenous thought.
We were pleased to welcome Centre for Christian Studies Program Staff member Janet Ross to the Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre as a resource person for our January learning circle on history traditions, exploring both Indigenous and biblical traditions. Read her reflections on the week.
Read about Aboriginal Ministries in the United Church, Living into Right Relations, our Partnership with Centre for Christian Studies, Five Generations at Graduation, Upcoming Learning Circle and more in our latest newsletter: Spring 2015
Shirley McLaren recently attended the “Introduction to the Bible” course at Sandy Saulteaux. The first time Shirley took a course at SSSC it was for credit in her Designated Lay Ministry program. This time it was for continuing education. Here is Shirley’s review of the biblical learning:
The Introduction to the Bible week at Sandy Saulteaux Spiritual Centre was very interesting. It is a great learning atmosphere as well as a sacred space. All people are respectful of one another and can enter into discussion freely.
I enjoyed the Bible Studies which allows participants to dig deeper into their thoughts as well as listen to other’s opinions on the same passage of scripture. It was a new learning for me how different cultures could interpret scriptures differently based on their experiences in life.
I was reminded of the themes that weave throughout the Bible. Some of these include creation, liberation, land and people, and covenants. As I read scripture now, I can see these themes and how they relate to other stories on the same theme.
The Bible is made up of stories. The elders relate stories to Aboriginal people. In my mind, these two connect. Our Bible is like stories that are passed down from people who lived generations before us. In the gospels, stories are told up to four times but each time a bit different. I often question what the truth is and not take the story for its worth. Truth or fiction? It doesn’t matter, as long as I understand the lesson from the story. The Bible is not made up of answers.
The Bible and Original Instructions go hand in hand and actually overlap. All people can learn from both of them. They both teach about life and not so much about law. It is important that I take the stories from the Bible and make them fit situations in my community and church.
The hand-outs that we received in this course were very valuable. They offer a useful resource for finding information very quickly.
Thank you for another interesting week of continuing education. To be in community in this Aboriginal Learning Circle is valuable in itself. It is about building relationships, being in community and understanding what it is like to be the minority in a group. These lessons are invaluable to me and only help to make me more understanding and a better person.