Deaconess Education

 
Students at National Methodist Training School in 1912.  UCC Archives 1990.115P280

Students at National Methodist Training School in 1912. UCC Archives 1990.115P280

Education. Training. Each word conjures a different understanding. For Deaconesses, both starting points informed the curriculum throughout time. The women were being formed for a multitude of roles and a myriad of divergent expectations.

The history of pedagogy is significant, and complex. Watch for more reflection soon.

For an indepth examination of “Training Deaconesses the Manitoba Way” see Sherri McConnell’s paper on Manitoba College Deaconess Program (1920 to 1939).

Also see Weaving a Changing Tapestry, A history of the Centre for Christian Studies, by Gwyn Griffith, 2010. (not available online)

 

 

Deaconess School Buildings

Click on the box to read caption , click on the picture to enlarge .

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Chicago Training School

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Chicago Training School for City, Home and Foreign Missions (American Methodist) and its founder, Lucy Rider Meyer, were extremely influential in the Canadian Methodist Deaconess movement. The first three Superintendents were sent to Canada by Lucy. All three were graduates of CTS.

Photo from Garrett University.
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Manitoba College

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In 1882, Manitoba College (Presbyterian) occupied this elaborate building on Ellice Avenue in Winnipeg designed by architect Charles A. Barber. In 1931, the building was sold to the Roman Catholic Church and became the home of St. Paul’s College, which later moved to the Fort Garry Campus of the University of Manitoba and the school moved into Wesley Hall. This building was demolished in 1964.

Courtesy of Manitoba Historical Society.
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Wesley (United) College

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This four story stone building (shown here in 1934) was erected on Portage Avenue in Winnipeg and officially opened at a ceremony on 3 June 1896. An annex, Sparling Hall, was designed by architect J. H. G. Russell in 1912.

The College was originally Methodist, after Union it became the United Church School.

Photo courtesy of Sharon Graham
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Wesley Hall

Restored
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The sandstone chosen for Wesley Hall, now on the campus of University of Winnipeg, deteriorated, endangering the future of the building. In 2007 the exterior was restored. For more info see http://cargocollective.com/campustour/Wesley-Hall
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Toronto Deaconess Home and Training School

First Home McGill Street
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The first building occupied by the Toronto (Methodist) Deaconess Home was located at 28 McGill Street. The house was new when the “Home” was officially opened on May 28, 1894 and classes began that fall. Soon classes had to be held at Carlton Street Methodist Church as well as the number of students continued to increase. The building was designed to be a home for probationers (students) as well as Deaconesses working in Toronto. Photo from ToBuilt.ca
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Toronto Deaconess Home and Training School

Carlton Church
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Carlton Street Methodist Church (here in 1890) accommodated classes when the Home on McGill St. was inadequate.

Photo from Canadian Methodist Historical Society
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Toronto Deaconess Home and Training School

Second Home Jarvis Street
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In 1898, 275 Jarvis Street was acquired through the Hart Massey estate. The newly renovated House was formally opened in December, 1898 and by June, 1901, it was reported that the debt for renovation had been removed. But Hart Massey had left money for a much grander building. When the school relocated to St. Clair, this building was renamed Barbara House and became a boardinghouse for working girls under Deaconess management.
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National Methodist Training School

Sod Turning
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Working with the dream and money left by Hart Massey, the sod was turned in 1908 on a grad building at 135 St. Clair Ave. W in Toronto. Ora McElhenie, Principal (left) and with the shovel, Lucy Rider Meyer of Chicago.Photo from Centre for Christian Studies
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National Methodist Training School

135 St. Clair Avenue W
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The substantial building at St. Clair and Avenue Road, opened in 1911, cost a large amount for the time. There was ample room for missionaries home on furlough and deaconesses, as well as students. This is a 1921 view. The building was never comfortable, too large and too institutional. It was sold in 1942, to the Department of National Defense, to be used to house women in the services. The cost of constructing the building had been $350,000 and it was sold for $200,000. -

Photo courtesy of United Church National Archives 90-115P257
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Presbyterian Missionary and Deaconess Training Home

60 Grosvenor Street
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This property at 60 Grosvenor Street was purchased in 1909 for $15,000. From the 1918 calendar: "It stands in the midst of beautiful grounds and is contiguous to the University, Knox College, the Medical College, the new General Hospital and the Children’s Hospital, so that students can conveniently avail themselves of the educational opportunities thus offered. The Training Home is so centrally situated that students in training can readily reach any part of the city in which they may be doing practical work." In 1925 the building was retained by the United Church. It became a student residence. In 1943, Women’s College Hospital purchased the building for $30,000.Photo United Church National Archives 1990115P415
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United Church Training School

214 St. George Street
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In 1943 214 St. George Street was leased for the United Church Training School students and staff, no longer was there room for returning missionaries or those on furlough. In 1947 it was purchased. While the students missed the mentoring the new space was much more of a home. Photo United Church Archives
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United Church Training School

Bedford Road
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In 1945, a second house at 25 Bedford Road was purchased to house UCTS students for $18,000. It is no longer standing but looked similar to this house at 23 Bedford. There were no classrooms, office or gymnasium space, but were found at Emmanuel College and at Bloor Street United Church. Photo TOBuilt
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United Church Training School

77 Charles St. W.
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A desire to be closer to the University campus was the major motivation in proceeding with a new building. Land was made available from Victoria College adjacent to Emmanuel College. Arthur Eadie, a member of UCTS board was the architect. The campaign was launched in 1952, they moved in January 1955. There were rooms for 60 students and a small apartment for the Principal. Photo from Centre for Christian Studies
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United Church Training School

Cornerstone
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Laying of the cornerstone at 77 Charles St. W. was of great interest across the United Church. Over $750,000 was finally raised under the direction of Principal Harriet Christie, $150,000 beyond the initial goal, with all but 230 pastoral charges in the United Church contributing. The building was a big boost to awareness of Deaconess work. .Photo United Church Archives.
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Covenant College

later Centre for Christian Studies
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Covenant College

Greenhouse
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In 1967, Covenant College purchased Charles Bird/John Briggs houses immediately adjacent at 63-65 Charles Street. There were six small apartments in the semi-detached house available for men (who had been admitted to the school beginning in 1962) or families. The building was painted green and so was named “The Greenhouse” for many generations of students. The houses and land were swapped in a deal to get full ownership of the land under "77" from Victoria University in 1989. They are now Vic student residences.

 

There are currently two schools offering diaconal education for the United Church of Canada.

 

Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre

Centre for Christian Studies (CCS)