Joan Tuchlinsky – DUCC
 

Commissioning     2000, in Winnipeg

Program of Formation    Diploma in Diaconal Ministries: Studies in Transformation and Action

What called you to diaconal ministry?    I remember being at church, picking up a Centre for Christian Studies newsletter, and reading about the various ministries of graduates.  The article really resonated with me. I had been searching for what I wanted to do in the next stage of my life; I was drawn to social work, but the faith element was missing for me. Diaconal ministry provided the feminist theological perspective, and the focus on social justice, pastoral care and education. When I decided that I wanted to begin studies at CCS and pursue diaconal ministry, I felt a sense of peace: this is what I am called to do and to be.

Describe some of your experiences of ministry   After commissioning I was settled in the Walton-Bluevale Pastoral Charge, a rural 2-point charge and hour west of Kitchener. I was the sole paid minister and enjoyed working and living in a rural setting.  My favourite parts of the work were confirmation classes, pastoral care and collaborating with community partners.  I stayed there for six years and then accepted a position at the Sexual Assault Centre of Waterloo Region which brought us back to Kitchener and our family.  It also provided the outreach position that I felt called to.  I have been the Public Education Manager for six years.  I use my education and training from CCS every day.  I train volunteers, facilitate workshops on a variety of subjects, initiate new programming, co-facilitate a regular group for supporters of survivors of sexual violence, write grant submissions, create marketing materials, and collaborate with many community partners.  Our agency structure is a modified collective – which means we have no executive director, and the staff share the leadership responsibilities of the agency.  I am on the Marketing and Public Relations, Human Resources, and Strategic Planning committees.  This gives me unique opportunities to expand my skill set and contribute to the direction of the agency.  It can also be very stressful and is a lot of work, on top of my regular tasks. But I feel very blessed to be able to do this work.

How do I explain diaconal ministry to others….    Diaconal ministry encourages asking questions, exploring  who is not at the table or who is missing, and why – and then trying to address the identified needs, locally and beyond.

What gives you the most satisfaction, reward, sense of fulfillment from the ministry you do?  I have coordinated an innovative program called Male Alliance Against Sexual Violence (MAASV) for the last five years. We engage men in the work of ending gender violence.  It is challenging but so rewarding.  This provides an opportunity to be creative, to collaborate, and to have a real sense of being involved in social in our community.

October 2012