The 2019-20 academic year began with the annual retreat, again at the CAMMAC Music Centre in the beautiful Laurentians. The whole college community was joined by the Rt. Rev. Gordon Scruton, retired bishop of Western Massachusetts, and his wife, Rebecca, for a weekend focused on the theme, “Spiritual Practices for Sustainable Ministry.” Students were introduced to new prayer practices and asked to reflect on how to manage the demands and pressures of ministry in a changing world and church—reflections that proved invaluable throughout the year, and especially when a pandemic disrupted the end of the year.
The college community counts 15 children under the age of 10 among the families of its students and staff. We gathered in late September for a picnic to get to know spouses and children, who support our students throughout the week but aren’t always able to join us at the college.
Numerous workshops and training days have contributed to the growth of the Dio community. In September, the principal led an online webinar reviewing what happened at General Synod in July 2019 in Vancouver. In October, the Rev. Dr. Richard Topping of the Vancouver School of Theology led a two-day preaching workshop for students, clergy, and lay leaders. In November, the Rev. Dr. Hilary Bogert-Winkler and the Rev. Jen Bourque led a workshop on ministry and pastoral care with children.
Following the success of 2018’s online course on the Gospel of Luke, we offered a follow-up class on the Gospel of Matthew in fall 2019, “Disciples of Jesus: Learning from Matthew.” Dr. Bogert-Winkler taught the non-credit course, an introduction to the key themes of the gospel in advance of a new lectionary year. Parishes in Canada and the U.S. gathered to participate in the course together and then discuss the Gospel further afterwards. In the winter, Principal Jesse Zink taught a similar multi-week course on “Wholeness and Holiness: Reconciliation in the Church and World.”
Dr. Bogert-Winkler conducted a follow-up study day on leading a Bible study on the Gospel of Matthew during Lent 2020. She also launched an online course on liturgy in the early winter, which quickly changed focus in March as described in a separate article.
Throughout the year, we welcomed visiting celebrants to our weekly Eucharist from points near and far. This year they included the Rt. Rev. James Almasi, Bishop of Masasi in Tanzania, a companion diocese for Montreal. The principal led a public Q&A with Bishop James as part of his trip to Canada. In November, the college welcomed a team from the Association of Theological Schools. Click here for more information about the successful outcome of that visit..
Dio faculty and students also paid visits to other dioceses throughout the year. Principal Jesse Zink joined our students from the Diocese of Vermont at the consecration of Shannon MacVean-Brown as diocesan bishop in September. He later addressed the quadrennial synod of the Diocese of Quebec. Director of Pastoral Studies Hilary Bogert-Winkler was part of the Rooted in Jesus conference in Atlanta, Georgia in January.
Graduating students and others travelled to the Cree community in Waswanapi in early March, a rewarding intercultural encounter described here in a separate article. Just a few days after the group returned to Montreal, the coronavirus pandemic transformed our lives, and the last weeks of 2019-20 played out in a way that no one could have possibly imagined short months earlier.
This article is part of our 2019-2020 Year in Review. If you would like a printed copy, drop us a line at [email protected].